This extraordinary photo by Robert Clark appears in the November 2014 issue of National Geographic. It is part of an on going series on the Future of Food. natgeofood.com The crew had to accurately gather all of the food according to the statistics, stage it to meet the schedules of the family, shoot it in the best afternoon light, control the dog and keep it fresh enough to donate. This included stuffing the pig with plastic bags because a pig in this state looks flat.
According to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) statistics, a family of four in the United States wastes 1,160 pounds of food per year. In 2010, the United States Census projected 32.3 million families of four. That statistic includes nontraditional families headed by a married couple. Even though that number is shrinking, the population is growing and that category of food loss still consumes 25% of all fresh water for agriculture and 300 million barrels of oil. Someday! I will become a better statistician so that I can report with deeper knowledge how large these numbers are and what they actually mean to our planet and the future of our species. I imagine, due to the huge complexity of food production/distribution, that we may not yet have all of the data that can tell us the whole story. (Maybe Eddie can help us).
I always find my research even more exciting, though, when National Geographic reports it. Their professional photographers, graphics, researchers and story tellers have a legacy of concise, thoughtful and compelling ways to get us to think about our world. Like tracking a strawberry from its farm in Watsonville, California to a grocer in Washington DC! It leaves Monday afternoon at 2:56pm and arrives Thursday night at 11:02 pm. It travels 3,200 miles mostly along I40 because the average speed limits at 70mph are the fastest. Its on a truck that will use 720 gallons of gasoline (double what an airplane uses). And! 25% of those berries will never get eaten. What that trip means in its use of increasingly valuable resources is something we have to face.
Don’t miss the video below! It brings to our attention how much our wants drive our cycle of waste and how we can change.
Ways to help:
- Learn more from National Geographic’s blog on the Future of Food. http://theplate.nationalgeographic.com
- Planning menus is the best way to reduce food spending and waste. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/05/01/grocery-costs-for-family/2104165/
- Shop local markets. It’s fun, its fresh, its beautiful and it can teach us a lot about what we may really want.
Until next week,