Reducing Food Waste In Cayman This Holiday Season
For many in the Cayman Islands, the festive season is filled with holidays and special occasions celebrated with extravagant dining and spending time with family while enjoying food and meals. Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Years Eve and New Years Day are all occasions when the season is celebrated through food.
Elaborate presentations and exquisite and extensive menus will almost always result in leftovers that go to waste. Throughout the Caribbean, food waste has become a serious issue. And although some might argue that the best part of the holiday season is food, we all have a role to play in reducing food waste in the Cayman Islands and in the Region.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates around one third of all food produced in the world is either wasted or lost each year and Worldvision.org predicts that the amount of wasted food can feed at least 2 billion people.
Some of the environmental benefits of reducing food waste include lowering our carbon footprint, conserving energy and decreasing pollution caused by food wastage. In addition to saving money, an important benefit of reducing food waste is supporting the food insecure by making food that would ordinarily go to waste available to them.
Reducing food waste is a great way to fulfill our social responsibility, so here are eight ways Caymanians can do their part during the festive season to minimize waste:
- Plan ahead. You are less likely to buy in excess if you already know the dishes you plan to prepare and how many people will be dining during the holidays.
- Use what you have. Your refrigerator should be your first stop for groceries. Use what is in your refrigerator before buying more.
- Buy what you need. Only buy non-perishable items in bulk.
- Go ugly. Don’t be afraid to use “unattractive” produce such as bruised carrots or bananas with brown spots.
- Be creative. Think like a chef and find new ways to use peels, craps and skins.
- Save for the future. Freeze or preserve excess food wherever possible.
- Play with your food.Although we were always told “Don’t play with your food!”, I am encouraging you to break that rule and experiment with leftovers. Play with your left over food to create your new, signature holiday dish.
- Donate. Whenever possible, donate excess food to food banks, shelters or churches.
The holidays and the New Year is cause for celebrations and resolutions. Let us not forget that we play an integral role in positively impacting our environment, and that usually begins at home. Happy Holidays Cayman and best wishes for a prosperous New Year!