The journey a vegetable takes from being planted on the farm to the grocery store can be long and complicated. First off, not all vegetables meet the standards to make the trip. Then, the vegetables that do get shipped face a variety of challenges.
The biggest waste happens when the vegetables are harvested and being prepared for shipping. Grocery stores only purchase vegetables and fruits that look good. There are no exceptions made for oddly shaped vegetables and these get discarded or set aside as livestock feed. In a community garden, all the produce is used. Even the weird-looking vegetables, the too-small carrots, the lopsided beets, the slightly bug-eaten cabbage. These are still perfectly good to eat even if they don’t look perfect.
The process of shipping fruits and vegetables thousands of miles from the farm to the grocery store is another area where lots of waste happens. The vegetables may rot on the long drive or show up in less than ideal conditions and get discarded before they make it to the shelf. Community gardens eliminate the whole transport issue because, of course, the gardens are local. They aren’t going to sit in a tractor-trailer on the highway spoiling and losing value. Freshly picked vegetables are always best taste-wise and nutritionally. The less a vegetable has to travel, the less likely it will become waste.
Additionally, community gardens can tailor what they grow to suit the specific desires of the community. If the gardens are growing what the local people want, then it will be eaten and not wasted. Community gardens thus are an excellent resource and strategy for reducing food waste.
Lam Research Corporation is a company that engages in the design, manufacture, marketing, and service of semiconductor processing equipment used in the fabrication of integrated circuits. Outside2Inside was invited to participate in the Earth Day event conducted by Lam Research on May 15, 2019.
The Theme given by Lam Research was “Sustainability” and we at Outside2Inside decided to bring awareness about home-based (domestic) food waste recycling for this event. We had set up a stall and displayed Food Waste Composting in a glass jar, Wonky produce, Food Waste quiz, and tips to reduce food waste. When it comes to composting, people think that it is a complex process that involves worms and needs a huge backyard in order to do one. But Outside2Inside helped break this thought & demonstrated during this event as to how composting can be done even in a small glass jar and help in recycling food waste in a small but sustainable way. Employees who visited our stall were curious and interested to learn more about domestic composting. Many were amazed by the fact that composting can be done domestically in a small glass jar and were excited to try it at home.
We also displayed wonky produce and explained how it contributes to massive food waste in the US. The employees were shocked to know that one in three produce was thrown away just because of its looks. This made them aware of how buying wonky produce will contribute to food waste reduction. We designed a food waste quiz to engage the people and when the employees took the quiz they were shocked to know the alarming statistics of food waste in the US. We also gave away Outside2Inside flyers that contained tips on efficient usage of the fridge for food storage in order to prevent food waste, which in turn will guide them to reduce domestic food waste. Since households contribute the most to the annual food waste in the US, by doing domestic composting and the efficient usage of the fridge, one can contribute to the household food waste reduction. More than 100 employees visited our stall and were made aware of the food waste, domestic composting method, food storage tips and efficiency of fridge usage to prevent food waste.
Through this event, O2I accomplished:
- ~4 hours of volunteer involvement
- ~100+ people made self-aware about food waste
- ~10+ lbs. of wonky produce recovered from getting wasted
By participating in these events, we contributed to the community by bringing awareness about food waste and how it affects our environment. This wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our volunteers and we thank Lam Research Corporation for giving us this opportunity to be a part of this good cause. We wish to have many more partnerships with them in the future.
Volunteer Event Manager @ Outside2Inside
The City of Santa Clara conducts the Arbor day event every year in Santa Clara Central Park. The Earth Day Celebration Event this year (2019), marked the 32nd year of the National Arbor Day Foundation. The purpose of this event was to invite the local community to engage in environmental education for a healthy lifestyle and a healthy planet. Elementary students from in and around Santa Clara County were brought to this event to learn more about environmental awareness.
Outside2Inside was invited to be part of this good cause in bringing awareness to the community on environmental issues and how to contribute to a healthy sustainable planet. We were one among 20 vendors to participate in the event. Since this event is for the community and kids, we had prepared games like “Match the following” and identifying the “Wonky fruit/vegetable” to engage the school students. The activities were designed to bring awareness to the students that not all produce are grown in the same shape /size /color, it comes in different forms but is equally nutritious as the regular looking ones. We gave a lot of produce-related gifts like pineapple ice cube tray, fruit-shaped paper plates, beautiful flower seeds and “wonky carrots” to the students, teachers, and parents as an appreciation for their participation. By giving away the wonky carrots to the kids, we encouraged them to buy wonky produce from the grocery store. The kids were happy to take wonky carrot as its interesting shape looked cute for them. In their own words an enthusiastic kid asked us, “These carrots look cute and taste sweet, so why is it thrown away?” and ate the wonky carrot right away. Almost all the kids who visited our stall showed great curiosity and interest towards “Wonky Produce”. We at Outside2Inside felt extremely happy to have brought awareness about “Wonky Produce” to these kids who are the future citizens of our country. The event was a great success and everybody who visited our stall walked out with awareness about food waste and how each one can contribute to reducing it.
Through this event, O2I accomplished the following:
- ~4 hours of volunteer involvement
- ~500+ people made self-aware about food waste
- ~30+ lbs. of wonky produce recovered from getting wasted
This wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our volunteers and we thank the City of Santa Clara for giving us this opportunity to be a part of this good cause. We wish to have many more such partnerships with them in the future.
Earth Day is observed every year around the world on April 22nd to demonstrate support for environmental protection. As a part of the community and corporate awareness, Outside2Inside was invited to participate in the Earth Day celebrations of Advantest Corporation that were held on April 22nd, 2019. Advantest Corporation is a leading manufacturer of automatic test equipment for the semiconductor industry, and a manufacturer of measuring instruments used in the design, production, and maintenance of electronic systems.
Outside2Inside was one among the 15 vendors participated in the event. We had set up a stall and displayed Food waste statistics in the US, Wonky produce, and Wonky fruit salads. Our goal for this Earth Day Event was to bring awareness to the employees of the Advantest about “Wonky produce” and how it contributes to the massive food waste in the US. “Wonky produce” are fruits or vegetables that are odd-shaped, discolored, asymmetrical but equally nutritious. One may think what Earth Day has to do with food waste reduction. Food waste ends up in landfills which emits methane, a greenhouse gas that affects our environment. And moreover, when food gets wasted, precious resources like water, soil, and human effort are also going to waste. Many don’t know about these facts and we at Outside2Inside wanted to bring awareness to the corporate citizens through this event.
Outside2Inside had recovered some wonky fruits and vegetables like apple, orange, squash, and carrot which would have been otherwise thrown away from the farms. This recovered produce was displayed in our stall. We also made a free giveaway fruit salad of apple and orange. When the employees visited our stall, we made them taste the “Wonky Fruit” salad and when asked about the taste, they said it was delicious. When the employees were informed that the salad was made from wonky apples and orange which would otherwise be thrown away, it shocked them. This brought awareness that even though some produce looks odd-shaped, it is as nutritious as the normal ones and made them realize that its the looks that make one not pick these “Wonky Produce” from the grocery stores. Many employees were interested in our stall and brought their friends as well to know more about wonky produce. We made ~150+ people aware of the wonky produce and made them as change agents to spread this awareness to their family by giving away the recovered wonky produce.
The event was a huge success and O2I accomplished the following:
- ~4 hours of volunteer involvement
- ~150+ people made self-aware about food waste
- ~70+ lbs. of wonky produce recovered from getting wasted
- ~100+ people fed with “Wonky Fruit” salad
This wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our volunteers and we thank Advantest for giving us this opportunity to be a part of this good cause. Outside2Inside wishes to have many more partnerships with Advantest in the future.