Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Like some of the Jewish harvest holidays (Passover, Sukkot...), it really celebrates the beauty of the season. It's a time to be thankful for what we have, and enjoy the end of the fall crop. I even harped upon this topic for a week straight last year. But one thing that has always bothered me about how this holiday has transformed over years, is the emphasis on over-consumption. So, this year, I want to address the issue of excess and waste during the holiday.
United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, about one third of all food is wasted worldwide. While in developing nations this is largely due to lack of infrastructure and post-harvest processing capabilities (like good roads and refrigeration), industrialized nations squander food after it has reached the consumer. Those 222 million tons of food waste generated annually in these countries. (almost equal to what is produced in Sub-Saharan Africa) are from uneaten restaurant portions, items past the sell-by date in the grocery store, etc.
Between Thanksgiving and New Years, we generate 5 million tons of food waste above-and-beyond our average. WorldWatch Institute's Nourishing the Planet blog has laid out ten ways to reduce holiday excess. I'm a big fan of exercising some restraint and practicing moderation (ie. this is NOT of a gorge-fest), repurpose leftovers (soups or stews are great for this), and composting.
And just a last thought, as the yoga teacher in me comes out, take some time over the next few days to really think about what you are grateful for. Despite the social pettiness, political corruption, and environmental degradation of our world, we do live in an amazing place. Look out the
Mark Bittman published some foodie thanks, if you need some inspiration!
academic agriculture almond amaranth animals apples apricot asparagus avocado baking banana bars basil beans bees beets berries biodiversity blog action day blueberries book bread Cabbage Cake carob carrots cashew cauliflower celery chard Cheese cherry chickpeas chocolate chocolate with a soul Cinnamon rolls climate change coconut coffee commodities conflict conservation contest cookies corn crisp cucumber culture dairy daring bakers dates deforestation dess dessert eggplant eggs Environment Ethics fair trade fennel figs film fish Food Waste Foodie blogroll Frugal Foodie Gardening garlic gender ginger gluten-free GMO grains granola grapes Greens hazelnut health history Holiday honey horseradish human rights hunger ice cream Indian Kale Kiwi kohlrabi lemon lentils lime Live Below the Line livestock macarons mango markets melon mint muffin Munchable Soapbox mushrooms nutrition nuts okra olive oil onion orange organic pasta Pastry peaches peanut butter Pears peas peppers Pie pistachio plum policy pollution potatoes poverty Produce of the Week protein quinoa Rabe raw resources restaurants rhubarb risotto root vegetables salad seafood sesame smoothie social justice SOS soup spinach Squash stevia strawberry sunchoke sunflower seeds sustainability sweet potato tea tempeh Tofu tomato tradition trains Travel Turnip Vegan Vegan MoFo water wheat berries winter squash zucchini