Free the Dinner Table

According to Food Wise, a national campaign run by not for profit organization DoSomething, 8 billion $ a year are wasted in Australia on food that’s bought but doesn’t get eaten.
With a projected population of 23,900,291 for October 2015 that is $340per person per year. For an average family of four: $1360 per year. A big enough amount of money to start thinking and changing something. A considerable amount of production cost, packaging and transport wasted. What’s the ecological footprint of that sum and what can we do about it?
I tried to get information about the ecological footprint, but found that too hard to calculate, as even experts are not agreeing on what needs to be taken into consideration when coming up with a meaningful ecco footprint number.
But I do have a few ideas about why we do it and what can be done about it:
I think everybody is guilty of throwing some food out – but it should be the exception, not the rule. Nobody does it intentionally and there are varied reasons why it will get to that point.
• People have very high standard when going shopping and all good intention to “home cook this week”. And then never get around to it.
• Lack of planning ahead and impulse buying.
• Some people can cook and would love to do it, but are so overwhelmed with the clutter on bench top and dinner table that they rather feed the kids baked beans in front of the TV.
Sometimes it is the second generation eating like this. A lot of my clients tell me, that they never learned. When Jamie Oliver filmed his Food revolution in America he made a comment about his utter surprise about kids who had never, at the age of 10, used knife and/or fork. For them food is always finger food!
I found this quiet shocking and I don’t think that we here in Australia are much different.
I think it’s a parent’s duty to give their kids basic manners and social skills – and I know it is hard, I am still struggling with two of my kids using the knife as an aid to put things onto their fork (the knife as a cutting device is much more appreciated by the boys.)
I think we have to distinguish between eating as the task of putting food in one’s mouth so you don’t starve and eating as in family dinners, sharing stories and food. Food needs to be appreciated – kids have to develop a relationship with food, they have to learn about food. But it’s not just lack of cooking skills and time and ability to use a knife and fork. I am a Professional Organiser and come across a lot of families that basically don’t have a dinner table they can use.
And that’s not because they don’t have that piece of furniture, but because it’s so full of clutter that nobody eats at it.
So mums feed the kids in front of the TV, that’s easy and very non confrontational. As far as I am concerned, you might as well serve Play- dough! And when dad comes home, the parents do the same, balancing their plate on their knees.
I sometimes wonder if some of the eating issues can be prevented… who would go to the effort of cooking nice food if nobody really gets what’s eaten , distracted by watching TV or bored because they eat on their own.
Other reasons could be:
• People have very high standard when going shopping and all good intention to “home cook this week”. And then never get around to it.
• Lack of planning ahead and impulse buying.
• Sometimes it is the second generation eating like this. A lot of my clients tell me, that they never learned.
By being mindful of these reasons, there are easy ways to work against that over consumerism:
• meal plan
• Shop with a shopping list.
• Organiser your pantry – every half year!!!!
• Ask for help and learn
• Always unpack the dishwasher – this one sounds a bit out of line, but if you treat the dishwasher as a cupboard for dirty dishes rather than clean ones – you are not going to have to clean away mountains of dirty plates before starting to cook all that delicious produce you bought.
Bibliography:
population clock: www.abs.gov.au/ausstats
‘what a waste! Australia Institute report’ http://www.secondbite.org/resources/documents/WhataWaste-AustraliaInstitute.pdf
Related link : http://hungrybeast.abc.net.au/stories/beast-file-food-waste
Food Wise: http://www.foodwise.com.au/foodwaste/food-waste-fast-facts/

Sign up to our Fortnightly Newsletter

Comments

mood_bad
  • No comments yet.
  • Add a comment

    Sign up to our Newsletter to be the first to know of
    upcoming events, competitions and everything Inner West!

    You have successfully subscribed to the newsletter

    There was an error while trying to send your request. Please try again.

    Inner West Mums will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing.