By: Billy G. Howard
A recent solicitation from an organization speaking of the fight against hunger in the US, prompted me to do a little research to understand the exact nature of the problem.
General exceptions exist to most every standard presented as a rule. That said, there’s no doubt some people in this country have a demonstrated need but what I discovered caused me to rethink much of my own reasoning concerning food.
Given the fact there are a number of countries around the world with serious malnutrition issues, it was hard for me to digest the telling information about our homeland. In a 2012 interview with author Jonathan Bloom on NPR (National Public Radio), a scientist at the National Resources Defense Council, Ms. Dana Gunders, disclosed statistics that should trouble any citizen of this country who has a conscience. She identified that Americans waste thirty-three million tons of food each year. When one considers, that’s enough to feed virtually every hungry person in the world until they’re all obese. Then citizens of other countries can be just like most of us in America; struggling with their bulging mid-sections as well.
In truth, studies show about forty percent of food in the United States simply goes uneaten. Economically, that means Americans are casually throwing $165 billion dollars ($165,000,000,000.00) worth of food into the garbage every year. Its estimated there’s roughly fifty percent more waste per person in this country than in the 1970’s as the amount of wasted foods has steadily increased each year.
It’s enough that people in “the land of plenty” are so wasteful but as bad, or worse, than the food wasted by consumers is the fact farmers’ crops are sometimes simply left in the fields. If there happens to be a significant decrease in the price of their respective produce crops before time for harvest, it’s just not financially beneficial for them to reap the field’s output. When the market price is too low, farmers aren’t able to afford to harvest their crops because they won’t make up the difference in price. In those unfortunate cases, acres of otherwise perfectly good yield are simply left in the fields to decay.