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Nonfiction in response to Zero Hunger
February 2018
By Amrita Bhasin
CC Image courtesy of U.S. Department of Agriculture

When considering world hunger, it’s important to look at local impacts in addition to more global ones.

While some people believe that world hunger exists because there is not enough food to feed everyone, the world actually produces more than enough food, according to the Guardian.

In the United States, there appears to be a problem concerning food waste and restaurants. Business Insider reports that the “Natural Resources Defense Council found that Americans throw away almost half of their food, amounting to $165 billion wasted annually.” Globally, 1.3 billion tons of food are wasted. While this unused food is often perfectly edible, “84.3% of unused food in American restaurants ends up being disposed of, while 14.3% is recycled, and only 1.4% is donated.” Scientists have estimated that 40% of food produced in America is wasted. Reading these statistics, it seems inconceivable that this much consumable food is going to waste, while so many people are starving worldwide. It remains the great paradox between first world and third world countries; these two extremes coexist simultaneously. Even in America, there are many people who could benefit from eating wholesome food and the simple staples like fresh fruits and vegetables that restaurants easily throw away. I believe that the restaurant industry must do more to combat hunger. One potential idea is that eating establishments could partner with homeless shelters to donate extra food.

But, consumers are to blame as well. From farms to grocery stores to peoples’ refrigerated, there is food wastage at each step. If some sort of food distribution system was set up to aid the malnourished, this would be a much better use of resources and energy than wasting food.

While issues like world hunger may not seem relevant to your life, look close to home, and question what you can do. Place this small burden on yourself every day: don’t waste food, and if you cannot use something, find somebody who can. If more people start thinking this way, perhaps society can learn to better combat world hunger.

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