As part of my internship, I’ve been getting to see many different sides of the food system. The origins of food, planting, growing harvesting. Then some of it gets sold at the market, some of it gets sold to markets but there’s always something left. The most common statistic I’ve heard on the subject is that about a third of all food produced is wasted. One third. 33% of food is getting thrown into landfills when there are so many people in this country alone who are food insecure and lack access to sufficient sources for nutritious food. Thats where food pantries come in, they attempt to fill the gap between food waste and food want. But they often struggle keep enough nutritious food on the shelves for their clients to take home. Fresh produce is hard to come by and it doesn’t stay good for very long.
In the process of growing, harvesting and selling produce that that happens at farms all over, there is also always an element of waste. People don’t want to buy produce at the market that isn’t beautiful and in peak ripeness. So what happens to all the overripe and ugly veggies? They often end up wasted.
The photo above is a picture of me at a food pantry in Detroit processing bok choi from the farm that I work at to be distributed to clients at the pantry. The bok choi had gone to seed too early because of the hot, hot summer we’re having and wasn’t suitable to be sold at the market so I got to harvest it, process it, drive it to the pantry and fill in that gap between waste and want in the food system even if just for a day and connect a local farm to a local pantry.