When I lived in London we subscribed to a veggie box. Each week we received a box of organic, locally produced produce. We loved it. In fact, we loved it so much we added a weekly juice box (a box with fruit & veg suitable for juicing) to our order. So, we started receiving two boxes of goodies each week.
Our tiny kitchen was flooded with organic beetroots, celery & fresh tumeric.
We never made any of the juices. At 6 am kids bottles, nappy changes and coffee was prioritised. So the following week, I had to toss the now soggy beetroots to make way for the newly delivered cabbage and turnips.
That weekend my in-law came to visit. They are used to organic vegetables, the only difference is that during the 60ies in rural Poland no one delivered the goods to their door. They had to grow and harvest themselves.
They have a slightly different relationship to food than we do.
On Saturday afternoon I opened the fridge to prepare dinner (nothing involving cabbage nor turnips) I noticed a jar of sauerkraut made by my mother in law.
”It would be wasted otherwise” she said. Then she chopped the turnips and tossed it in the salad I prepared.
It’s obvious. Our generation are raised in excess. We take for granted that we can have any fruit and vegetable we want when we want it. Of course we have become lazy comfortable. We buy what we feel like eating, and if we then don’t eat it – no problem we just throw it away. Then we go to the store and buy fresh fruit.
The thing is – IT’S NOT SUSTAINABLE. Food waste is one of the largest contributors to climate change; it’s like a black hole that consumes water & rainforest and spits out CO2. We have to change the way we consume food. However, to demand that we all become vegan and start making picked onions today is counterproductive. We will give up before we even started.
I believe that it’s better to start with small easy changes, the low hanging fruit so to say. Here’s what I have done.
We eat less than we think. For example, I used to use 8-10 potatoes each time I made mashed potatoes. After dinner we always had leftovers, mash that ended up in the fridge and then moved to the trash bin. Now I’ve realised that 4-6 is enough to feed the family and there are no leftovers. So prepare less, buy less. You kids will still be nourished.
Get creative and use what you’ve got
I always search the fridge before I order my hubby to go to the store. Usually I find some boring carrots, an apple and half a lettuce. With a bit of creativity it’s easy to make a meal out of mundane ingredients that are otherwise neglected. You save a trip to the store and avoid soggy carrots in your fridge.
Buy things that are in season
The majority of the produce I buy are in season; now in January we mainly eat oranges & kale; not so many strawberries. (Ok some. What to do when you’re in the store with a hungry 5 year-old negotiating genius who only wants strawberries NOT kale. Let’s stay real).
How much fruit & veg are you throwing away?