I can’t say enough…(4/7/13)

Seriously, I can’t say… at least not very effectively. You see, I am generally a quiet person, so talking for almost two straight hours about food waste has left my voice somewhat coarse. So, since I’m temporarily impaired from speaking, I’m going to write this blog.

Event Photo - Full Group 1
Org Dynm 615, armed with free food and powerful information

Our food waste awareness event was an amazing success. Our project team, also known as DYNM615 in the Organizational Dynamics program, put together a feast of excess food by collecting donations from local vendors. Even after a semester of studying the global food waste issue, we were amazed at the amount of quality food that was heading for the landfill. Armed with totes, magnets, and T-shirts in addition to A LOT of food, we invited students to stop by for some free gifts and food. Shortly after setting up, we had a crowd of people stopping at our table.

Event Photo Our Table and Students in Action
Org Dynm 615, armed with free food and powerful information

I had expected that giving away free food would attract hungry college students, so the crowd didn’t surprise me much. However, what did surprise me was that after people realized why we were there and understood that the food giveaways were originally destined for the landfill… they didn’t leave. A highly energized project team told the story of food waste over and over. Guests leaned in to be able to hear the team members over the crowd noise. Some people asked to be contacted for future efforts, others asked follow-up questions to better understand how this could be true, and many just shook their heads in disbelief. Facial expressions told the story fully, as guests at our table displayed emotions of shock, disgust, and in some cases, anger.

Do I think that raising awareness will change behaviors? If this event is any indication, you bet it will!

The amount of food we collected from just a few vendors was appalling. The use of technology to spread the word via websites, blogs, Facebook, and Twitter was phenomenal. The video was superb and highly impactful. The production of “free giveaways” items from design through deliver was excellent. The energy, teamwork, and cohesive effort to make an impact on this global issue were unlike anything I’ve ever seen.

Even if I had my voice fully intact, I still wouldn’t be able to say enough about this project team and what they accomplished through the Spring 2013 semester and on the afternoon of Thursday, April 4, 2013…

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You’re Doing it All Wrong (3/31/13)

My wife and I revisited the local pub that I referenced in an earlier blog. And, once again, we split the buffalo chicken wrap. I was all set to enjoy an evening of good food, good beer, and great company. I even expected that I would end the evening feeling good about my food waste efforts, because this was supposed to be an identical experience to the last time we split a meal here. 

We sat down and ordered our drinks… two waters and two Round Guys Slackers, which is an American brown ale. We were torn between the ham and cheese sandwich on a pretzel bun with honey mustard glaze (Yum!) and the buffalo chicken wrap serve with blue cheese dressing on the side (also Yum!). Rock, paper, scissors… no seriously, that’s how we decided. I represented the buffalo chicken and she was the ham and cheese sandwich. Best two out of three. You already know that I won and we ordered the buffalo chicken, but what you don’t know is that it was an intense come-from-behind victory. My wife won the first round (scissors cuts paper), then we had a draw (two rocks), then I won (scissors cuts paper), and in round three the meal was decided with another victory by me (scissors cuts paper again).
Everything was going as planned. Even the decision making process was fun! Then, of course, the food came out. The wrap was split as usual, so no complaints there. However, I noticed that this time we both received a full portion of fries. Why? We didn’t request extra fries… and we weren’t charged for them either. My guess is that the restaurant, being only 4 blocks from our home, has begun to recognize us as “locals” since we visit here once or twice a month. Maybe this is how they were “taking extra care” of us. I want to write them a letter, and it would look something like this:

Dear (insert pub name here),

Thank you for your great food and excellent service. On our last visit, we noticed that you provided us with extra fries when we split a meal. Thank you for your extra effort to enrich our experience, but if your goal is to keep us happy and coming back… YOU’RE DOING IT ALL WRONG! There is no need to provide us with “extra” anything, particularly empty calories. If you want to “take care” of us, take a buck off of our tab or throw in a side salad.

We enjoy being patrons of socially responsible organizations, and I do not intend to stop visiting you because of some extra fries on my plate. However, I hope that you realize the larger scale implications of what you do and make efforts to change your ways. Think about this:
A typical restaurant meal has at least 60 % more calories than the average home-cooked meal. (Bloom 2010) Diners leave an average of 17 % of their meals uneaten. (Bloom 2010)
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, please this website for more information. https://pennfoodwasterevolution.wordpress.com/stats/

Regards,
Sam

(Sam Godfrey)

Goody bags and BOGOs (3/20/12)

This past weekend, my wife and I traveled home to attend a lunch for my aunt-in-law’s 70th birthday. We arrived a few minutes before “feeding time” and quickly realized that there was a TON of food. In observation of all of this potential waste, my heart began to race, I started to sweat, and I couldn’t stop my hands from shaking. Well not really, but it was initially concerning.

Goody Bag
Doggie Bag

Then, of course, I realized that I was at my in-laws’ house. My mother-in-law is the master of the “Goody Bag”… aka the “Doggie Bag.” Everyone is attendance left with an appropriately sized Goody Bag. My wife and I will have a ready-made dinner sometime this week consisting of fried chicken, Mac-n-Cheese, corn, blueberry muffins, salad, fruit salad, cake, and cookies (Yes, this was all served for lunch!!!). My cousin-in-law went home with enough food to feed her family of four… and so on and so forth. In the end, all that remained was a single meal‘s worth of food for my in-laws. Thank goodness for the Goody Bag!

BOGO
BOGO

In addition to our Goody Bag, my wife and I were also given a bag of croutons and a loaf of bread. Why? There was a Buy One Get One free deal at the supermarket, or as it is known in the retail industry… a BOGO. And we all know how hard it is to turn away free things… especially food! Because of this sale, even the reigning Queen of the Intentional Goody Bag ended up with too much food. Luckily, I have been having a strong craving for a good PB&J and we rarely purchase bread in our house. When it comes to bread, my wife and I probably waste as much as a single person living alone (which is 45% more than the average person). So, I’ll do my best to increase my sandwich intake this week, which honestly won’t be an issue. And, since it takes a loooong time for croutons to go stale, I’ll add them whenever my wife makes me eat a salad and eventually get through the bag. (Sam Godfrey)

Enough is Enough (2/19/2013)

I met my wife out for dinner this evening. We ordered a buffalo chicken wrap, which comes with a side of fries. Yes, I said “we ordered” a single entree. We asked for it to be split, and when it came out, we each had a half of a decent sized wrap and a perfect portion of fries. If I had eaten the entire meal by myself, I probably would have been uncomfortable, possibly sick. Or, I would have left half of the fries on the plate to be “taken away.” Maybe I would have taken them home and diced them up to make home fries with breakfast (I’ve done this before), but probably not. It was enough.

My wife and I always split meals, because restaurants never serve portion sizes that are reasonable for us. Sometimes we have dessert, sometimes we don’t. But, it is nice to decide if we want more, instead of being forced to decide what to do with the excess.

This experience got me thinking…. Why isn’t “enough”… enough? Why do we allow restaurants to decide how much we should eat? Why are we okay with limiting our options to eat it all (and feel sick), throw it out, or take it home? Why don’t we insist that the only decision we need to make is “do you want more”? Why, why, why? (Sam Godfrey)