Race to end waste concerns the loss of one third of the food produced; and 50 percent of the water.
At the consumer goods annual global summit being held in Cape Town in June, 2016, Tom Gormon reports that 1.3 billion tons of food is lost or wasted every year.
This page was last updated by Bernard Preston on 29th November, 2018.
This loss in addition caused 3.3 billion tons of greenhouse gases to be pumped into the atmosphere every year; only the USA and China produce more. This is a major contributor to climate change; that means more tornadoes, melting ice packs and glaciers and freak weather changes.
Race to end waste finds it utterly gross that 1.3 billion tons of food worth US$1 trillion is fudged every year.
A large slice of the problem lies with our demand for perfection; well I remember a BBC program in which a broccoli farmer bemoaned the fact that a very large part of his crop did not meet Brussels' standards and had to be ploughed back into the soil; the shape and size did not satisfy the demands of the British housewife.
I know which party he voted for in the Brexit referendum.
It's well documented that about a third of the food that any housewife buys ends up being dumped for one reason or another.
Whether it's the authorities rejecting food that doesn't fit the bill, other passing its sell by date in the supermarket, or simply going off in the home, a huge amount that is planted is never actually consumed by humans.
The race to end waste is looking at various measures to improving the global food supply network.
Another is to make sure that the waste is used in some other profitable way, like in worm farms that will consume all the kitchen peels including left over food that has past its sell by date.
It's interesting how new interests draw you into yet other puzzles. The feed the worms which have voracious appetites, we've started visiting the local greengrocer for waste vegetables and fruit. Today he insisted that I take a whole box of sweet potatoes; true, underneath I could feel the dampness.
When I got them home I decided on a little experiment. Unfortunately the photo of the whole box went awry, but I chopped out all the rotten parts and was astonished to find that a full 50 percent was perfectly edible.
The worms got the rotten half and I'm not too proud to admit the good fraction went into our easy butternut squash soup; next time I visit I'll take him half a dozen free range eggs.
It takes me back to the days in Chicago when the young chiropractor in training had to pass the bins of the Jewel supermarket; with two hungry young children there were some tempting wastes there too.
It seems gross in retrospect; should we be rethinking the whole problem of waste?
Backyard permaculture certainly is a part of the race to end waste; it's all about creating a sustainable world that will be habitable for our great grandchildren in a hundred years' time.
We aim to make sure that there is zero waste from our home. Any stale homemade bread goes to the hens and food that has past its sell by date is devoured by the worms; we throw virtually nothing away.
Interestingly the hens have little interest in supermarket bread but they go crazy over that made at home with 100 percent wholemeal; they know the difference even if we humans don't.
In fact we even help the local green grocer to reduce his waste by collecting it for the hens and worms; and sometimes for ourselves.
We are now looking to participate further by collecting the left over lunches from the local school and feeding it to our hens and worms; they will clean up virtually anything that one can call food. Interestingly they both turn up their proverbial noses at white bread. They have better discretion than humans.
The beauty of backyard permaculture is that it's a full cycle. Collecting rainwater and sunshine from the skies and turning it into usable forms in the home and garden is one part.
Avoiding all pesticides and inorganic fertilisers is another part; that means compost heaps and worm wee for the vegetables.
Obviously we have no control over the supposedly rotten food at supermarkets, but by producing as much of our own organic fruit and vegetables as possible, and eggs using backyard permaculture, we are participating in the race to end waste.
The wonder of worm farms is a vital part of the race to end waste; the creepy crawlies just love half rotten fruit and vegetables. They'll even enjoy meat that you may feel is suspect, and gorged themselves on half a hen that a crowned eagle juvenile left behind when we disturbed him.
They will take all your kitchen waste and turn it into a booster for your plants.
They breed incredibly fast, doubling every month, so the surplus worms go to feed the hens; that's backyard permaculure and a fun part of the waste cycle.
Collecting bags of half rotten vegetables from the green grocer and left over lunches from the local school may not be quite up your street; so you choose your own part of this huge dilemma. The prospect of food riots is in the offing otherwise.
It takes me no more than five minutes every day to busy myself with the wonder of worm farms. On top of that once a month I spend perhaps half an hour to dig out the rich humus from the bins, and adding it to the compost pile, or directly into the garden.
You probably feel this is totally over the top. Rome wasn't built in a day; nor was a backyard permaculture home. You may want to start with a row of green beans or a Popeye spinach patch. Then the remains go to starting a compost heap. Eventually you'll be thinking about collecting rainwater and building worm farms in your participation in the prevention of waste.
In many municipalities over half the water is lost from aging pipes. Collecting and using your own rainwater is a significant part of ending waste.
The issues of the future will concern food and water. Let each of us do our own small part. Sustainable America is a large project of this nature.
Bernard Preston and his wife Helen live in an annex attached to their daughter's home; they are privileged to have their grandchildren around them for much of the time; their worm farms are one small part of the race to end waste.
Creating a sustainable world, an inhabitable place for them and their children's children has become a subject of passionate debate. Never will they be able to turn around and say we destroyed their future with our reckless and unsustainable abuse of the environment; we are all headlong in the race to end waste in our world. We each must play our own part, albeit small.
He is also a writer with six published books, and is busy with the seventh. You can support this site, if you've enjoyed this page by purchasing one of his inexpensive ebooks. Find them in the navigation bar on your left.