Food Waste: The Harvest is Just the Beginning

Apr 12, 2016 8:15 PM ET
Blog

Harvest. It feels like an old word, something people used to do centuries ago. Kind of like blacksmithing and spinning thread. It also feels like Autumn, mainly because the closest I’ve ever come to harvesting anything is picking apples in October in the mountains of Virginia.

Harvesting still happens every year though, and it is the beginning of a journey for our food. If our food successfully makes the trip, it will be nourishment for someone. If not, our food will be lost or wasted, and it would be better if it had never been grown at all.

So what are the wrong turns on this journey? There are too many to name them all, but I’ll rattle off a list. Drought can kill our food before it ever gets to harvest. Prices can shift such that it would cost more to harvest a crop than the crop could return at market, resulting in food withering in the field. Spikes in temperature can spoil crops, particularly in countries where cold storage and cold transportation aren’t available.

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Valerie Bennett
Ray C. Anderson Foundation
+1 (770) 317-5858