When Christmas and New Years are usually celebrated with the abundance of food and over-consumption and is followed by a strict gym program in January, Selina Juul, a leading Danish food waste expert, seems to have another approach towards that. “Aim for the balance. Don’t buy too much food if you know you won’t be able to consume all of it. Think about food waste when you buy your groceries and when you plan your consumption. We are 7 billion people on this planet, of which 925 million are starving. Yet we annually waste 1,3 billion tons of food - or enough to feed 3 billion people“, she says.
From Lack To Abundance
Selina, 33, came to Denmark as a teenager from Russia, a country which had experienced Communism, Cold War, food shortage and had a completely different attitude towards food waste. “When I came to Denmark in 1993, I experienced a big shock seeing such amounts of food in the stores. As I grew up in Russia, Moscow, I experienced Communism and food was something precious over there, yet Denmark had abundance of food which was hard for me to understand”, shares Selina. “I remember my Danish classmates throwing out their lunch packages while I kept asking why they do so when millions of people are starving. They’d just laugh at me”, shares Selina, who five years ago, in 2008, started to act in regards to food waste and created a Facebook group gathering up activists caring about food waste. “Environmental sustainability and global responsibility have always been matters close to my heart”, she says. “That was the reason I founded Stop Wasting Food movement (Stop Spild af Mad), where I now spend approximately 40 hours of work every week to minimize food waste around the country.”
In just 5 years, Stop Wasting Food movement achieved massive results and has grown into Denmark’s largest non-profit consumer movement against food waste. Among the many results the movement achieved large media coverage in Danish and international press, several campaigns, mobilizing the government, retailers and food industry, the United Against Food Waste event where 6,000 people were fed with good surplus food and collaboration with EU and UN. Recently, Selina Juul received the prestigious Nordic Council Nature and Environment Prize for her work against food waste.
Food Waste = A Global Shame
The causes of wasted food are numerous and, unfortunately, if you think about it, each of us wastes it to larger or lesser degree. Food waste can occur at production, processing, food service and retailing stages. Food waste harms climate, water, land biodiversity; to make matters worse, rotting food releases methane, a greenhouse gas that is damaging the planet and contributes to global warming.
According to FAO’s study, fifty-four percent of the world’s food wastage occurs “upstream” during production, post-harvest handling and storage, whereas forty-six happens “downstream”, i.e. processing, distribution as well as consumption stages. “We, ordinary people, have a lot of power in regards to food waste at the consumption stage”, says Selina.” She claims that approximately 30% of the world’s food supply is being wasted and the annual food waste in Italy, for example, could feed 44 million people – which is exactly all of Ethiopia’s undernourished population… ”The world’s population is growing and our consumption is only increasing. You are in control of your food shopping, not otherwise. Less food waste is the greatest contribution to your savings as well as time. As a consumer, you have more power than you think. Don’t buy the food that you are not sure you will consume – and stop feeding your trash”.
Food waste is a global shame, especially knowing that so many people in this world are actually starting. Unless we take action, it will devastate our planet”, says Selina, inviting you to take action towards your daily food shopping. “Think before you buy”, adds she with a smile.
A Friendly Piece Of Advice
* Plan your meals and get your groceries having some specific ideas in mind.
* Don’t over-shop. Try to get rid of a habit (or at least minimize it) to buy bundling goods with quantity discounts.
* While cooking, think about portion sizes. Don’t cook more than you can actually eat.
* Eat the leftovers and use leftovers while preparing new dishes. Do you have a piece of sausage or half of squash? Add them while making a vegetable stew.
* Remember to empty your food packaging – up to 25% of food is wasted because it is stuck in the food package and never gets eaten.
* If you are eating out and do not consume the whole portion you ordered, ask for the rest of it to be packed in a doggy bag so that you could bring it home. If possible, order less and/or share it with someone. Remember: you can always order more if you are still hungry!
* Speak out your mind: encourage positive action everywhere. Speak up! Stopping food waste whilst saving money – is a win win situation!
See more info at http://www.selinajuul.com/