Sustainable Citizen: A Diet of Purpose

Written by Plant With Purpose on March 25, 2014 in General

Did you know that in the United States, our food travels approximately 1,500 miles before it reaches our plates, or that 40 percent of what we produce is wasted?  According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty, and approximately 28 percent of all children in developing countries are estimated to be underweight. If global food market produces enough to feed not only ourselves but 1 million other starving people, how can we justify importing foods from faraway places and wasting our leftovers when so many are hungry?

“Food Miles” and the Global Market

When assessing the social and environmental impact of our food choices, is important to pay attention to “food miles.” Many are surprised to learn how far their food travels to reach their plate. In many of the countries where the U.S. imports food, laborers suffer low wages and unsafe working conditions. Because small-scale farmers are consumed with satisfying global demands for cash crops, their own families are left hungry, with no farmland to grow their own sustenance. Plant With Purpose works to reverse the cycle of poverty in developing countries, and your thoughtful donations encourage and support communities to provide for themselves.

Farmer Nelson Montero holds a tayota fruit.

Farmer Nelson Montero holds a tayota fruit.

In addition to supporting organizations that establish food security abroad, there are several steps we can take to avoid food waste at home.

Shop smart:

Become aware of expiration dates, serving size, and your own grocery consumption rate.

Plan meals:

Buying ingredients for a specific meal ensures that you will use them and limits overbuying.

Use older products first:

When examining your meal or snacking options, try to make use of the foods that will go bad first. The other products aren’t going anywhere!

Eat leftovers:

Some meals are better the second time…or even the third. Swap leftovers with family friends. Embrace the miracle that is cold pizza!

Use every part:

Pounds of fresh food gets wasted simply because we are lazy. Clean the bottom of that yogurt container, eat an apple to the core, and save your beet greens!

Store better:

Make sure to seal products properly, freeze food when possible, and can or pickle excess produce.

When out to dinner:

Only order what you really think you can eat, share meals to avoid waste, and take leftovers home.

You can support small-scale farmers around the world by eating a diet of purpose – free of waste and guilt, full of flavor and creativity. You can also help hungry families achieve food security by planting a family garden. Plant With Purpose teaches gardening techniques that increase yields by 65% and equip families to maximize their food production. Join our Spring Campaign to plant 200 gardens in Tanzania, and help families move from poverty to plenty!

Comments (3)

  1. Are you saying that when we buy grapes from Chile, berries from Mexico, Tilapia from Peru and so on that we are taking away from the local people. I always looked at it as helping the economies of those countries by helping people have jobs.

    Nancy Caporale
    1. Hi Nancy,

      While the out of country growers are making money in their country, most are large scale operations that do not benefit the poor, who cannot afford the price we will pay to eat Chilean grapes, just to use one example. Usually growing local food for local people is more affordable for the poor in the third world but it is not as lucrative for the big growers who make more by selling to U.S. markets.

      Dr. Doug

      Dr. Doug Hibbard
  2. Hi friends,

    This little blurb by my first born reminds me of how important and rewarding it is to gain the
    tools necessary to grow food for the family and neighbors… Contrast this with the opposite direction of economies based on consumption. China as an example is in the process of relocating 750 million rural farmers to massive density cities because they believe this will increase consumerism and drive growth. My question beyond the issue of quality of life is how long do they feel this is sustainable?. When will this massive engine grind to a halt and the people will have forgotten their ancient history of tending their fields to feed their families? Plant with Purpose may have to increase a million fold to deal with this eventuality!

    Vaya con Dios,

    Dr. Doug

    Dr. Doug Hibbard

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