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What If Government Took Food Waste Seriously? Well, the EU Does What If Government Took Food Waste Seriously? Well, the EU Does
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What If Government Took Food Waste Seriously? Well, the EU Does

by Peter Lehner

March 30, 2013

Last fall, employees at Jim Durst’s farm in Yolo County, California, harvested about 30 bins full of oddly-shaped organic butternut squash. These gourds would never see the inside of a grocery store—they had curvy necks or bulbous heads, making them unfit for big retail buyers. On some farms, this perfectly good organic squash might have been left in the field to rot. But Durst, and some other farmers like him, take the trouble to pick it so it can be donated to a local food bank.

“It costs us money to go through and pick them up, but it is minimal compared to the amount of good that it provides," Durst told AgAlert. Instead of being wasted, that squash helped feed families in need.
 
California is making it easier for farmers like Durst to donate excess produce with a 10 percent tax credit for food bank donations, a move that helps bridge the ironic gap between food banks that struggle to meet demand and the nearby fields filled with perfectly good crops left to rot for lack of buyers. This is just one simple way in which government action—whether through policy changes, research initiatives, or public campaigns—can make a dent in food waste, and ensure that at least some of the 40 percent of edible food that is wasted in this country gets to people who need it. The EU has tackled food waste at the highest levels of government, and it’s time we did so in this country as well.
 
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Original tomato image via Shutterstock
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