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 Take Action: Food

Farmworker Collage. Photo Courtesy of Jacob Anikulapo, Flickr via

To eat healthily, produce less food waste, and save money, try reducing portion sizes. Often, restaurants and at-home chefs will generously overshoot the recommended, healthy serving size for a meal. By simply ordering a half-portion (available at many restaurants, including Benson) or initially using fewer ingredients, you can improve the sustainability of your personal health, your finances, and the environment.

According to academic research, the best container to store and reuse your leftovers is the classic: glass jars. Like a basic mason jar, glass is easy to clean, safe for heating, and commonly accepted at recycling facilities. Plastic resealable containers, on the other hand, are petroleum products that vary in chemical quality, which lowers the chances of the objects being properly recycled. Under high heat, plastics will also release chemicals that penetrate into your food!

To understand composting, think of it as food recycling. Essentially, unusable food scraps are placed in large, open-air piles. After turning the pile to “oxygenate,” and sometimes aided by detritivores (e.g. earthworms) and heat, the plant material eventually decomposes into nutrient-rich soil. This product is then used in landscaping projects or gardens. This process avoids all the negatives associated with landfills - methane and carbon emissions, land degradation, and water table contamination, among others. Familiarize yourself with on-campus composting here.

Where did your food come from? Respect farmworkers and the California agricultural industry with a daily reflection on how your food was made, sourced, and transported - recognizing that another person was at each step of your food’s journey. SCU’s Food and Agribusiness Institute offers speaker series, programs, and trips to help educate students on how the world is fed. We recommend checking out their current Drought Series, as well as familiarizing yourself with the lifelong work of recent SCU visitor Dolores Huerta.

Contributed by Blair Libby ‘16, Intern, Waste Diversion

Tags: Food, Take Action



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