Non-profits, researchers, activists, government officials and more have discussed in great length the global issue of food waste, but religious institutions? AmpleHarvest.org is tapping into this international resource by reaching out to religious communities through Food Waste Weekend. The Food Waste Weekend event is set to take place across the nation September 8-10.
So what is Food Waste Weekend all about? It’s a three-day public education program created by AmpleHarvest.org that pretty much is exactly how it sounds – except it’s geared towards the faith community. Food Waste Weekend is designed to increase food waste awareness by encouraging religious leaders of all denominations to give a special sermon to their congregation.
Buddhist, Muslim, Christian, whichever faith you identify with, AmpleHarvest.org has a sample sermon designed for your congregation. The sample sermon provides the foundation, while faith leaders can adjust the script in accordance to their own voice. By participating, religious leaders have the opportunity to declare a call to action that has the potential to reduce food waste on a broad scale.
Despite conflicting religious views, the faith community is centered around helping others as well as caring for the planet. Food waste is a product of society that has a negative impact on both those topics. Malnutrition, hunger, and a negative environmental impact are the outcome of excess food left uneaten. By reaching out to large communities, Food Waste Weekend can encourage individuals to consider their plates and discuss their role in reducing food waste.
Why is food waste such a hot topic? One-fifth of our food supply winds up going to waste. Tossed out leftovers, expired food, and unharvested fruits and vegetables are contributing factors. Even excess garden produce is to blame as 11 billion pounds of food from the home/community garden is wasted annually.
One way in which concerned individuals can make an impact is by donating their excess garden bounty to the local food pantry. Food pantries receive the majority of donations in canned or dried form – so fresh produce donations are much appreciated. If you believe your house of worship already has a local food panty – 70 percent of food pantries already exist in a house of worship – AmpleHarvest.org encourages you to reach out to the local community by registering on their website.
Connecting community gardeners to the local food bank is merely one method in which individuals with deep social consciences – as well as environmental – can have a positive impact when it comes to surplus food. Buying only what you need, harvesting your garden, regenerating food scraps, and eating leftovers before cooking for a few simple ways to utilize the food supply in your own home. While food waste is inevitable to a certain degree, a conscience effort may be part of the answer to seeing that one-fifth number dwindle.
For more information about the event, please go to www.foodwasteweekend.org.
“AmpleHarvest.org is a nationwide non-profit that is working to end the waste of food – especially locally grown fresh food by helping America’s 42 million home and community gardeners donate their excess garden produce to more than 8,000 nearby food pantries. AmpleHarvest.org is not a food program per se, it is a unique nationwide resource that is eliminating the waste of food, the outcome being a reduction in hunger and malnutrition along with an improved environment.”