This Is Not The Time To Be Wasting Food—Not Now, Not Ever

Here's what you can do.

IMAGE Majoy Siason

During this ongoing global pandemic, one of the biggest concerns everyone has on their mind is food security. We've seen news of Filipinos begging for food, we felt outraged as farmers and food manufacturers from neighboring provinces encountered hiccups in delivering their harvest to the metro. We've asked ourselves at one point: Will there be enough food for everyone until the end of the quarantine?

The bread aisle in the supermarket during the first week of the enhanced community quarantine.
Photo by Bea Faicol
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This is why now is not the time to be throwing away food. Chef Jam Melchor, the founder of the Philippine Culinary Heritage Movement and the country head of Slow Food Youth Network Philippines, says, "This pandemic has clearly shown that Filipinos are not ready and if we don't get our act together, we will end up in a food crisis."

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During the enhanced community quarantine, Ifugao farmers were forced to throw out harvest because they were having trouble entering Metro Manila's checkpoints.
Photo by Tagani official Facebook | RenJa Cat-Lamhi
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Did you know that in the whole process of food production, there is a possibility of food waste? From the business-to-business side, there are instances that farmers have resorted to throwing away their harvest because of oversupply and low demands, even the mishandling or damaging of products during the shipment can also lead to food waste as people always buy the "perfect" produce. While in the smaller scale of things, households contribute to food waste by improperly storing food, hoarding products, and cooking way more than what's needed.

You can use leftover rice and make it into a delicious, filling fried rice!
Photo by Majoy Siason
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Food waste may seem like the lesser evil compared to single-use plastic, but food waste offers its own harmful effects in the environment. According to Move For Hunger, food waste that ends up in landfills produces methane, which in large amounts absorbs infrared radiation and heats up the earth's atmosphere. Yes, food waste also contributes to global warming and climate change.

How can we prevent food waste? Chef Jam suggests these steps we can all do within our household to lessen and prevent food waste:

1 Plan your meals properly. It's important to calculate the daily consumption amount.

2 Don't be afraid to buy "imperfect produce" or "less attractive but still fresh" produce.

3. Practice FIFO (First in, First out). Store your meals and ingredients properly.

4 Be creative with leftovers. You can also shift your mindset from "leftovers" to "ingredients" you can reuse. 

5 Always purchase ingredients that work for multiple meals.

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