2020-09-29 GENERAL HOUSE

September 29 – International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste

Reading the title of this International Day, we might well think that it is a commemoration with not much importance. Where is the problem when food is wasted? Or again when “leftover” food cannot be taken to other places to feed the population there?

FAO, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, reminds us that if we cannot reduce food loss and waste, it will be difficult for us to reduce malnutrition or hunger globally. By not wasting food, we can produce less which means less water is wasted and less pollution from the production process. This international day needs to be linked with other initiatives such as local production (support for small-scale farmers), more eco-friendly food production, a more responsible and measured consumption, …

There are many documents, articles, web pages, … that inform us of this reality and the problems brought about by food loss and waste. We find actions we can take to avoid it, practical advice that we can apply in our homes. There are resources already created to raise awareness, to implement in our workplaces, to practice in our homes and communities. A wealth of resources along these lines can be found on the FAO website.

The data reveals thousands of tons of food that are thrown away each year. A very high percentage – between 15% and 30%, according to the study – of the food produced annually is finally discarded. It is cheaper to dispose of it than to use it to feed the millions of hungry people. And this does not take into account the land, water, energy and other resources wasted to produce them.

As a “global” Institute, we Marists can also learn from each other. In many places in the Marist world, food is considered a blessing and a privilege. It is a reason to give thanks. In other places, sadly, we have lost this sense of food as blessing. Let’s support each other and allow ourselves to be helped by those who have greater sensitivity on this issue.

We need to become aware of the problem. We need to move towards a food production system that better distributes products so that they reach everyone, a system that is more eco-friendly and that gives greater attention to the care of our “common home”, a system that promotes the development of small-scale production and local consumption.

In some areas of the Marist world, children and adults are working on awareness of this topic. To them we say, well done! To those of us who still have a way to go in terms of this awareness, let’s have the courage to take small steps in the right direction. The XXII General Chapter, in its document to the Institute, reminded us: “Move away from a culture shaped by ego-s and adopt that of the eco-s … to reduce the scandal of indifference and inequality.” Let’s try to take on and promote concrete actions in our daily life.

Br. Ángel Diego – Director of the Secretariat of Solidarity


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