Food waste is at the top of the global agenda, and for good reason – as individuals we can each make a difference through mindful eating and reducing our waste at home. The simple act of not putting left-over or uneaten food in the bin will save an impressive amount of resources and energy and help reduce climate change.
It’s not often that our own small actions can create change and have a positive impact on the environment, but reducing our waste does make a difference.
Waste is not just the produce we see wilting in the fridge or in bins at the supermarket, waste includes all the resources, energy and human power that goes into making that food, and the emissions that are created by that food being thrown away. This is why, through our own small choices, we can have a huge impact on the environment.
To describe my love for food and ethical living, I’ve coined the phrase ‘root-to-fruit eating’ which means to eat mindfully, reconnecting with the value that we place on our food, the planet and the farmers who grow our ingredients, thus reducing waste. At my restaurant, Poco, we practice root-to-fruit eating, which has led us to use the best-quality products we can find and to become zero waste.
Tips on Root-to-Fruit Eating
By giving a little extra thought to your food habits you can reduce your waste and increase the quality of your diet
1) Eat for pleasure
Take time to shop, cook and eat for pleasure. Buy direct from farmers and producers and from shopkeepers who take pride in the quality of their produce. And, whenever possible, grow your own. Having a connection with your food will help you savour it all the more.
2) Eat seasonally
Choosing to eat seasonally improves the quality of our food while simultaneously reducing the cost of the ingredients. Seasonal food goes hand-in-hand with eating locally and eating more vegetables, all factors which reduce your impact on the environment and reduce waste in the food industry. A short, local food chain produces less waste through simpler logistics. Eating more vegetables reduces the resources that would have gone into producing meat.
3) Eat whole foods
Eating ingredients in their entirety, whether wholegrain or vegetable – skins, stalks, leaves and seeds – means we’re consuming the most nutritious parts. By eating food that we’d normally throw away we save in production costs and then have money to spend on higher-welfare foods.
Practical tips for reducing your food waste
Preserve food Make chutneys, jams and pickles with surplus food.
Eat less fish And eat abundant, undervalued species.
Eat less meat Choose the less common cuts of meat that offer better quality, lower impact and value for money.
Go local Locally-produced food often uses fewer resources than imported foods.
Eat chemical-free Fertilisers and pesticides waste natural resources and reduce soil quality.
Be creative Don’t follow recipes to the letter – use what you have.
Use your freezer If a food can’t be eaten before it perishes, freeze it for later.
Love your leftovers Leftovers save time and provide free meals.
Words by Tom Hunt
Photograph by Rob Streeter