Reducing Food Waste – Talk About It. Be About It.

Food WasteFeeding a growing population has been on the minds of those of us growing food for decades. And as of late, it is something readily written about on our blogs and shared across our social media feeds.

Every day we are conversing about today’s farmers and how we are able to do so much more with less. We highlight how far farming has come since 1960 when an individual farmer could only feed 25.8 people. We talk about, and agvocate for, every new technology that helps us remain sustainable and “feed the 9”, and that’s great – it really is. But, we are missing an opportunity, and quite frankly, doing ourselves a disservice if we are not also addressing food waste as part of that discussion.

Food Waste

Food waste is a huge problem that has been allowed to run rampant for far too long now. In the United States alone we waste a staggering 40% of all food purchased. And yet, food waste is a topic that most remain relatively quiet about. Why is that? Shouldn’t we be more upset about the food we work so hard to grow being literally thrown in the garbage? Shouldn’t we be making more noise on the issue?

The answer is yes. We should be more upset, and we should be making more noise to draw attention to the insane amounts of food being wasted each year. One of the best ways to bring attention to something is to…

Talk About It

Literally, talk about it. Bring up food waste in your daily face-to-face conversations. Then take to your blog and/or your social media properties and talk about it some more. The following are both great ways to engage readers in a virtual conversation.

  • Start a series. Sure, you can publish the occasional post on food waste, but blogging in series is a great way to engage existing readers and gain new ones. I started the year off with a food waste series called Diary of a Recovering Food Waster. The series was one part shedding light on food waste and one part holding myself accountable to my own goals in reducing waste. In it, I shared my food wasting wins and fails, as well as tips and tricks to reducing waste.

Diary of a Recovering Food Waster has since been transformed into a new series – Food Saver Friday. The aim of the new series is to focus on answering reader questions and providing more actionable goals, tips, and tricks for reducing food waste.

The beauty of a series is flexibility. You can post on a weekly or monthly intervals. It can go on indefinitely, or it can have clear start and stop dates. You can write all the posts yourself, or you can take on guest writers. Regardless what you choose, one thing is certain, a blog series is an excellent way to talk about and draw attention to the issue at hand, which in this case is food waste.

  • Hashtag, hashtag, hashtag. Utilize the power of the hashtag by either creating your own, or jumping on an existing food waste related hashtag. For example, whenever I share anything from my Food Saver Friday series, or just a post about food waste on a Friday, I use #FoodSaverFriday (my original) and #WasteLess (one I jumped on by taking the challenge – see below).

Don’t stop with the mere act of hashtagging – amplify them. Engage your readers, and other bloggers, by inviting them to also share posts about food waste and how to reduce it, using the same hashtags.

Be About It

Because it is not enough to simply talk about reducing food waste, we also need to be about it – change our own habits so we can lead by example. If a new habit can be developed in just 21 days, then the Beef Checkoff’s 30 Day Food Waste Challenge is a great way to reform current habits and get started on the path to reduced food waste. The challenge offers simple solutions to common food wasting conundrums, as well as delicious recipe ideas. And the best part, besides the obvious – reducing food waste, is that sharing the knowledge gained by accepting the challenge is not only allowed, but also strongly encouraged.

If you are ready to be about it, click here to take the challenge and #WasteLess.

Every day we talk about sustainability and feeding the world, but imagine the impact we would have if we turned the conversation to food waste. Imagine the number of people we could feed and the resources we would save if we could get even a fraction of our readers to take heed and waste less. So, let’s talk about it, and be about it. Let’s reduce food waste to help feed the world.

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Terryn Drieling Terryn grew up on a small feedyard in northeast Nebraska. She went on to earn her Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln and participated in the UNL Feedyard Management Internship. The internship brought her to a large western Nebraska feedyard, where she worked as part of the animal health crew for more than 7 years. Terryn and her husband run a small herd of cows in partnership with her in-laws. But their day job is living and working on a large ranch in the Nebraska Sandhills, raising beef and bringing up their three kids. Terryn writes about their everyday ranch life on her blog Faith Family and Beef.

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