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Culture > News

Lacking Discourse in Food Recovery

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at CSU East Bay chapter.

About 1.3 billion tons of food per year is lost or wasted, and as the environment is severely impacted by excessive emissions of greenhouse gases, the conditions continue to worsen. Food waste causes negative social, economic and environmental effects that may be reversed through food recovery, a practice that distributes leftover edible food from grocery stores, restaurants and other dining facilities to households incapable of attaining food in an economically sustainable manner. Considering food waste’s impact on future surplus and environment, food recovery is unfortunately not discussed enough on news platforms, social media and other search engines, leaving the general public ignorant and prone to total unsustainability. 

So what can we do, as college students and future policy makers, to instill change for social, environmental and economic factors in our communities?

1.) Question Your Local Grocery Store

As consumers, we have grown way too reliant on expiration and best by dates, but do they really determine what is edible or inedible? The notion of our food rotting instills fear into grocery stores’ conscious, resulting in the decrease of food donations in concern of spoilage during transportation. The primary factor of low-income households suffering from food insecurity is the lack of donations from food production businesses, which end up as food waste anyway. 

2.) Stop Neglecting Imperfect Produce

However, we cannot fully blame grocery stores and other food businesses for food waste because consumers created the criteria for a buyable piece of produce. Why do we examine our produce so thoroughly before putting it in our basket? The saying“you are what you eat” comes into play in this next theory. Atypical appearances such as discoloration and deformation in consumers’ produce result in negative perceptions. Devaluing and neglecting unattractive produce mirrors self-perceptions of oneself, meaning if someone’s short and long term goals are positive and self-affirming, they also strive to eat perfect or close to perfect produce. Of course, we end up in the never ending rut of neglecting imperfect produce, which eventually leads to food waste. 

3.) Alternative Methods

Before throwing away your perception of spoiled produce, examine the piece of produce thoroughly to determine if the produce is still edible. A simple “cut out” of the spoiled area lessens food waste, after all, you or someone you know did pay for that produce to be eaten. You might also consider freezing your food if you don’t anticipate on eating it within the next week. When food is in your hands, it’s also your responsibility to take care of it! 

4.) Imperfect Produce as a Brand

How can we stop neglecting imperfect produce? Well, buying them for your household is definitely a contributing factor. Imperfect Foods eliminates food waste, and in doing so, makes the process more convenient for busy households to eat produce and contribute to food recovery, all at discounted prices. Imperfect Foods’ campaign delivers produce to the front doors of subscribers with various choices of fruits, vegetables, quinoa and even different types of bundles that would otherwise be thrown away at grocery stores because they do not meet the cosmetic standard for grocery products. 

5.) Join or Learn from Food Recovery Student Organizations

The Food Recovery Network is a student-run organization, spreading to more than 230 university chapters, emphasizing the need to donate food for hungry people and contribute less to landfills. Their efforts are to reach out to other universities to spread the actions of donation, empowerment and ultimately start a dialogue. The successful organization reaches out to future policymakers, opinion bloggers and other occupations in hopes to multiply food bank locations to benefit low-income households. Future changes are in store because of student-based organizations and institutions who are educated in food sustainability, like many universities’ requirements to enroll in a sustainability course before graduating. So before going on your phone in your sustainability course, think about what these impacts mean to you and your future community— stay woke!

My name is Jiselle Boquiren-Wong, I am currently in my senior year of college at California State University, East Bay pursuing a BA in Communications, Multimedia Journalism. Aside from writing opinion editorials in regards to politics, technology, and lifestyle, video production has played the most significant component to my work ethic and the overall aesthetic I portray to my peers. I am very passionate, yet the biggest critic of the projects I produce, considering myself at an intermediate level in media production. With the opportunity as a chapter team member, I aim to broaden my horizons in journalism and continue to network with diverse and inspiring characters. https://jisellelynproductions.myportfolio.com/films
Destiny Raybon

CSU East Bay '20

Hello, i'm Destiny and I am a communication and media major looking forward to an incredible first year with HC!