As our class nears the end, I sit here reflecting on the lessons learned along the way. At the start of GlobalPENNovation, I must admit I was extremely unaware of the global issue of food waste. Twelve weeks later, I am by no means an expert on the issue but I feel this overwhelming sense of desire to continue to try to make a difference. Whether the difference I make is becoming involved in external interest and/or volunteer groups, or if I continue with my own personal strides to change my behaviors and attitudes about food, food waste and food recovery, only time will tell.
The guest speakers and resources we have been exposed to were absolutely wonderful, and shared thoughtful knowledge and insight that I will always remember. For me, what really helped me understand food waste and what we as consumers can do about it were the tons of consumer tips we discovered during the course. Most of the tips were very clear, and seemed almost so simple, that I felt silly that I did not consider them beforehand. For instance, being a busy individual with work, school and other activities, time is a huge factor. Many times, I would go to the grocery store with not much thought of pre-planning meals. In turn, I would sometimes overbuy perishable products which ended in waste. How could I solve this problem? The answer for me was pre-planning a grocery trip with scheduled meals throughout the week, or batch cooking on a free weekend day and freezing meals. The freezer has become my new best friend. There are so many things you can freeze to extend shelf life – overripe bananas, soon to be stale breads and/or bagels, homemade gravies or sauces, the list is endless. In addition, the statistics I learned relative to food waste was a huge eye opener. It amazes me that 40% of the food produced is wasted, and that wasted food could ultimately solve world hunger. I’m shocked that the food wasted could fill the Rose Bowl. These statistics are still hard for me to grasp. If we have all of this food available, why wouldn’t we be salvaging it? We could easily kill two birds with one stone and help millions of hungry individuals.
Through my learning’s, I can positively say that my consumer behaviors have changed for the better. I continue to spread awareness on a daily basis to friends and family. When they hear about the efforts we have made to spread this awareness to the local Penn community, they are amazed at the issue themselves. Food waste is one of those issues, to me, I feel people are just unaware of. They do not know the statistics that I have been exposed to (really only through signing up for this Organizational Dynamics class). I am continuously grateful that after reading the course syllabus and being intrigued, that I registered. I feel very encouraged and have a positive outlook that the global issue of food waste, one day, will be diminished. By creating awareness through education, we can hopefully change the mind set of one individual at a time. (Win Preechawutthidech)