Posts tagged ‘food’

Reducing Your Food Waste

Love_Food_Hate_Waste_logoWhat if you could reduce your food waste in the kitchen and save money while doing it? When shopping for groceries we can be swayed by merely a ten cent price difference in brands, but in the kitchen we so often throw our money away unknowingly. Although you won’t get a fine for tossing your food scraps in the garbage like in Seattle, you can take steps to starve the landfill while swelling your wallet.

Studies from the USDA in 2010 reveal that 31% of the retail and consumer food supply went uneaten. That’s nearly 133 billion pounds of food waste, equating to $161 billion dollars lost! These are some large numbers to fully comprehend their magnitude, but on a smaller level, about 20 pounds of food per person per month gets wasted.

If these facts seem alarming to you, we are going to give you a few simple tips and tricks on how to reduce food waste in your kitchen and save some money too!

Plan Meals Ahead. Creating a list for weekly meals allows you to determine which ingredients you need and use up ingredients you already have. If you arrive at the grocery store with a plan, you can use your time more efficiently and be confident that the ingredients you buy will be used.

Sell-By Dates. Speaking of food going bad, sell-by dates can bring some confusion and deception. These dates are not monitored by the FDA and are merely a recommendation by the producer for when the product will be at peak quality. In most cases, if your food still looks and smells fresh you don’t need to toss it right away. Save yourself some money and waste by giving those foods a few extra days.

Reusing Food Scraps. Food scraps can be reused in countless different ways. You can use meat scraps for your next soup stock, carrot tops for a yummy pesto, or stale bread for a crunchy bread crumb crust. Use the power of the internet and turn your next pile of food scraps into a gourmet dinner!

Composting. Maybe repurposing food scraps is not the thing for you. Creating a compost can greatly decrease your food waste! Whether you have a large garden space or just a corner in your kitchen to fit a bucket, your food scraps have many other options than the landfill.

Here are some more resources to get you started in reusing your food scraps, composting at home, and reducing your overall food waste.

Image: http://www.lovefoodhatewaste.nsw.gov.au

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March 23, 2015 at 11:20 am Leave a comment

How Local is Your Fridge?

“What percentage of the food in your fridge is locally grown?” asked Kay Jensen of JenEhr Family Farm.

The question was a simple one but one that all the attendees at the EnAct CSA event had to think about deeply. I personally had no idea. I liked to think of myself as a local food supporter, but did I really had a handle on exactly how I was supporting them? Numbers between 30 and 50% popped up as answers.

The next questions was “What percentage of locally grown food do you want in your fridge?”

Now that was one to think about.

The benefits of getting involved in CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture are numerous, but above all you are showing support for local farmers. It is a way to reconnect with your food, to interact with those producing it, and to learn about the variety of produce out there that isn’t the usual grocery store line-up.  It is a chance to renew the relationship between farmer and consumer.  One touching story shared last night told about a CSA member’s young son, who states regularly that their CSA farmer “grew this food for him”. The interaction is an excellent way to teach children hands on about food and nutrition. I was also pleasantly surprised to learn that many health insurance companies offer rebates for subscribers due to the many health benefits of eating farm fresh vegetables.

Kay Jensen shares a CSA box with attendees

Of course with anything new, becoming a CSA subscriber takes some time and energy to adjust. Eating locally takes extra time and planning ahead, says MACSAC, or Madison Area Community Supported Agriculture Coalition, volunteer Angie Fuhrken.  When she first signed on, she was a bit nervous after receiving a box full of vegetables she barely recognized. There are of course the usual favorites, but a lot of times the CSA box contains new items. After researching places to get recipes based on ingredient and with the help of MACSAC’s cookbook, she quickly adapted and now has a bigger variety of dishes to share with her family. With a little extra energy, you can adjust and figure out a system that works for you.  She also shares her CSA with a neighbor, helping to reduce waste. One week the box is picked up by her, and the next week, the neighbor.  Both Kay and Angie made other suggestions such as choosing a farm with a convenient pick-up location for you, making a plan ahead of time if you are sharing with someone, and to be patient in the transition period while learning how to use all of your new vegetables.

A typical 'winter' CSA box. The winter spinach has a sugary sweetness to it.

So what percentage  of local food do you want in your fridge? Is it there now? Do you have a plan to get it there? When considering all of your options, make sure to include CSA.

For more information on CSA, visit http://www.macsac.org.

Thank you to all who came out to the event last night and to Kay and Angie for giving us their time.

Angie Fuhrken of MACSAC and Kay Jensen of JenEhr Family Farm

~EnAct Intern Kayla Baake

February 10, 2011 at 1:33 pm Leave a comment

You Are What (and Where) You Eat

Madisonians love to eat local, and we’re lucky to live in a place that makes it easy. The White House just hosted its first Farmers’ MarketI’ll bet they dream of someday growing up to be like ours!

Those of us who live in Madison know how lucky we are to have a wonderful Farmers’ Market, not to mention REAP–an organization committed to helping get local food into the mouths of the people of Wisconsin.  Plus we have a host of restaurants committed to serving local foods and stores that help you buy from local farms.

What about you? Do you eat locally? My husband and I hit the Farmers’ Market every Saturday and usually the smaller market in our neighborhood during the week. And I often wander over to the Wednesday market right here off Capitol Square.

It’s not hard to eat local, and it makes your tummy and your conscience feel good. The farmers–and the farms–appreciate it too!

If you want to learn more about the local food movement, check out the Food for Thought Festival this coming Saturday, September 26, from 8am-1:30pm on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd off of Capitol Square.

Eat up, Madisonians!

Go green, be happy,
Maria

September 21, 2009 at 6:32 am Leave a comment


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