By Jack Peat, Editor of The London Economic 

The food system is broken, NFESH President, Founder and CEO Enid Borden told me in a brief email exchange in response to my article on food waste.

Highlighting the origins of food and the way in which our supermarket shelves are stocked I attempted to bring to light some of the big issues discussed in Omnivore’s Dilemma which is as harrowing a read as anything Stephen King or Dean Koontz could muster up but unfortunately housed in the non-fiction isle. From the origins of food to consumption and waste the book highlights the inconvenient truth that food has become one of the world’s biggest problems. The snag is that humans are both the victims and the main offenders.

“Nearly 40 per cent of the food produced in the United States ends up in a landfill. At the same time, millions of Americans are struggling with hunger. As a country, we are throwing away good, nutritious food that so many people are going without. It’s shameful,” Borden said.

But outside corporations and the role they have played in industrialising the food system I forgot to consider the fact that we still have people. The National Foundation to End Senior Hunger (NFESH) is one such group of people that is addressing the problems in the food system and remedying the problems caused by the corn-fed industrialisation of the food system.

The organisation has recently launched a new initiative to combat senior hunger by reducing and recapturing food waste in the District of Columbia. The What a Waste project brings state-of-the-art technology, along with live instruction on how to use it, into the senior wellness centre kitchens. Together these will enable kitchen workers to measure, categorize and quantify food waste throughout the process, which begins with purchasing and preparation and ends with what is left on seniors’ plates. The technology will show exactly where the food waste is occurring and what particular food items are not being consumed. This, in turn, will help nutrition programs improve both their purchasing decisions and their menus. That will translate into dollars saved and more seniors served.

Nearly one in six or 15.3 per cent of seniors in the United States faced the threat of hunger in 2012. In the District, the rate of senior hunger mirrors the national average, according to the latest research from NFESH. That same year, the United States generated more than 36 million tons of food waste, according to the EPA. Through waste reduction and composting, the DC senior wellness centres are decreasing their carbon footprints and building a more sustainable, environmentally friendly city for all its residents.

Take a look at their infographic below to see how similar solutions are a necessity in other parts of America and indeed the world.

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