Food waste has reached epidemic proportions across the nation. Dumpsters located outside of every supermarket, restaurant, farmer’s market or any other place that sells food is filled with usable food. Sustainable Urban Village (SUV) has a proven plan that will educate the population on ways to reduce (prevent) and re-use (recover, recycle) food waste.
What is food waste? It’s food that could have been eaten but wasn’t for various reasons. Produce that is not ‘pretty’ becomes food waste because no one wants to buy a “Wonky” apple or an oddly shaped tomato. Leftover food from restaurants becomes food waste and excess produce from farms are thrown as there are no buyers for them. Households produce food waste because we buy more fresh food than we can consume before it goes bad.
Making people aware of the food waste problem is a step towards correcting the problem. SUV has an Awareness Center that will help people understand the food waste problem and learn ways to prevent it. Self-Awareness, Community Awareness, and Corporate Awareness are all a part of the program to educate people on all levels of things they can do to prevent food waste from occurring.
Reducing the amount of food, we purchase is one step everyone can take towards preventing food waste. Instead of purchasing 4 bananas and tossing out 1 at the end of the week because it became over-ripe, just buy 3 bananas.
Using the same banana example, when you notice 1 of the bananas is becoming over-ripe, put it in the freezer for future use in a smoothie or banana bread. That’s called ‘re-purposing’ food and it will reduce food waste.
A compost center included in the SUV will convert the manure from the animals on the farm as well as waste from yards, gardens and food using a converter, so it can decompose and be used to improve soil fertility. The compost will enable the soil to produce more food, so the sustainable cycle can continue for everyone living in the Sustainable Urban Village.
SUV has an animal farm included in its plan to reduce food waste. Both good and bad food will be collected from those living in the neighborhood and used to feed the farm animals. What was once wasted food will become food with a purpose and feed livestock. Animals, like chickens, goats, and cows, will be fed with this nutrient-rich food waste and in turn, will provide fresh food like milk for those living in the Sustainable Urban Village.
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.
1 head of wonky cauliflower
1 wonky red onion, finely chopped
1 wonky pepper, finely sliced
8 button wonky mushrooms, finely sliced
2 cloves of wonky garlic
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
4 wonky spring onions finely chopped
- Preheat your oven to 220°c/428°F.
- Taking the whole wonky cauliflower, chop it into small rice-like pieces.
- In a large bowl add 2 tbsp olive oil.
- Add in the cauliflower and mix until nicely coated.
- Lay the cauliflower out on a baking tray and place in the oven for 25-30 minutes until golden, cooked through and slightly crispy.
- In the meantime heat your wok with a splash of sesame oil.
- Add the wonky onion, garlic and sprinkle salt & pepper and saute for 3-4 minutes until it starts to soften before adding in the wonky peppers.
- Finally, add the mushrooms and saute for 1-2 minutes.
- Add 1 tbsp of sesame oil, and 2 of the spring onions.
- Remove the cauliflower from the oven and combine with the vegetables.
- Serve and enjoy with some toasted sesame seeds and some more finely chopped spring onions!
Credits: Adapted from Wonky Spatula
- 2 lbs wonky carrots
- ¼ c maple syrup
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp black pepper
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Wash and trim ends of carrots, cut on a bias making ¼ inch wide slice.
- Measure the rest of the ingredients and mix with the carrots in a bowl tossing to coat evenly. Line a sheet pan with parchment or foil. Evenly spread carrot mixture on lined sheet trays. Place in oven.
- Set a timer for 10 minutes and then stir them, place back in oven set timer for another 10 minutes and then again stir them.
- Set timer for the last 10 minutes and the wonky carrots should be tender and roasted golden brown around the edges. Plate and enjoy!
Credits: Adapted from Imperfect Produce Recipe
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil + more for garnish
- 1 small wonky onion, diced (1 cup diced onion)
- 2 wonky garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp fresh grated wonky ginger
- 1 large wonky apple
- 1 pound wonky carrots, peeled and chopped (~5 cups)
- 4 cups vegetable broth made from wonky produce
- Salt, freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. In a large pot, add 1 tbsp olive oil over low-medium heat.
2. Add chopped wonky onion and cook for about 5 minutes until translucent.
3. Add minced wonky garlic and ginger and cook for another couple minutes on low.
4. Add chopped wonky apple and carrots and cook for a few minutes more.
5. Add the wonky produce vegetable broth, stir, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low-medium and simmer for 20 minutes, or until tender.
6. Carefully transfer this mixture into a blender and blend until smooth.
7. Add salt and pepper to taste.
8. Serve and garnish with freshly ground pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
Goes with bread and makes 5 delicious cups!
Credits: Adapted from Joy The Baker.