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donderdag, juli 06, 2023

Why do 'we' waste so much food?

Because I try not to waste too much food, I get some of it via 'Guerilla Kitchen, warriors against foodwaste' (click): volunteers who pick up almost-past-yhe-date foods from wholesale, supermarkets, restaurants...and create 'saved packages' of food for anyone who is against food waste. So, not just for people who can't afford food.

The other day I picked up a bag full of good foods:
Which this time around contained a whole loaf of bread. Since I still had some (bought) bread and Dutch bread is not artificially whitened, sweatened and made to stay 'fresh' for a month, I decided not to wait until it went moldy but gave half to a neighbour and turned a couple of slices into 'wentelteefjes'. Literally 'tumbling bitches'. In other countries the dish is called 'French Toast'. Which name is better, do you think? 

Here are a few pictures:

Don't worry: I won't show you how it looked the next morning.

The Dutch are quite famous for their bread and keep surprising American tourists and expats with how nice it tastes and how many varieties there are. And all fresh. So, not the stuff that in US supermarkets is sold as 'bread' but stays edible for a month or so. 

Jovie explains why that is:

Basically: what Americans call 'bread', the Dutch refer to as 'candy' because of the enormous amounts of sugar, salt, sweeteners, whiteners and preservatives the stuff contains.

We waste a lot of food. Some 2% of food gets waisted during processing, 15% of all food gets lost on farms. Restaurants, cafés and catering companies account for some 40% of all food waste. But the real 'winners' are you and I: consumers are accountable for some 43% of all food that not gets eaten but wasted. Consumers who don't waste almost half of all the food they get, live in so called 'under developed' nations. Apparently throwing away almost half of all the food you buy, shows you're 'civilized'.
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Here are some statistics:
Consumers in North America waste - on average of course - the most food per capita.
Europeans are a close second. Countries like China and Japan come in third. 
In short: the wealthier a nation, the more food their citizens waste. Fruits, vegetables and the aforementioned bread form the top three of foods in the 'developed nations' that are rather found in garbage bins, than in people's stomachs:

The Netherlands seems the overal winner:
the 'Dutchies' throw away some 541 kilograms of food.
Each and every year. Which may have to do with the abundance of food available
in the country that's - with 23 million bikes and 17,5 million people - the second largest exporter
of food in the world. 55% of the Netherlands is farmland. 

And 'Big Agro' (the dozen or so largest food- and food processing companies in the Netherlands plus companies like Monsanto and DuPont ) just bought 40% of all the land in Ukraine. Because they want more grain 'n stuff to feed their chickens, cows and pigs. 

It's why they don't want Ukraine to be protected against the Russian invader, I guess: Prime Minister Zelensky wants to feed his own people with those lands, while his Russian counterpart seems willing to sell it to the Dutch and other 'Big Agro' investors. After he has fed his soldiers of course.

This is an overly simplified opinion on the situation but it's a fact that since the collapse of the Soviet Empire, greedy eyes have turned on Ukraine (click) with its fertile lands of which a lot went basically unused in the Soviet Era as more than enough was already being used to feed everyone. A power struggle ensued and the small farmers lost to large investment companies and stakeholders of immense 'farms'. Which are not the farms anymore that you know from your books in school when you were ten:
A friendly lady farmer inviting children to her animal-friendly farm to pick up their own eggs and pet those cute little piglets, right? No. She is Caroline van der Plas, a former lobbyist for the pork industry. A couple of large agriculture companies and investors basically paid a marketing agency to present her to the public as 'a politician who takes farmers and citizens at heart'.  

'No, we just decided to help Mrs. van der Plas for free. Our 'Big Agro' clients have absolutely nothing to do with our decision', said a company spokesman from the company that also does the marketing for Bayer/Monsanto when I asked them about it. 

So they named the political party 'BoerBurgerBeweging', 'FarmerCitizenMovement'. And it worked: the few remaining small farmers as well as 'the people' got her a seat in Dutch Parliament. To show everyone she was 'just a simple farm girl' the marketing agency had her arrive at her first day in Parliament on a tractor. 

A bold move since she had never driven one before as she never worked on a farm (I think her brother has one so she may have seen a living cow on a few occassions) and lives in a nice appartment in the city. Where she just moved to from a smaller appartment where she worked as a lobbyist. Or 'journalist' as she liked to call herself. 

She gets paid to make small farmers think their livelyhoods will not be taken away from them by the largest producers of cattle food and the likes. Because those investors can't have a revolt on their hands. 'Big Agro' tricked small Dutch farmers to rise up against the government that actually wants to help them and in that process help the few multi-millionairs that want them to go out of business by taking over their livestock, lands, buildings and machinery.

At the most recent regional elections (from which Dutch Senate is formed) 'BBB' was the big winner. Now controlling legislature in most Dutch provinces. Factually giving 'Big Agro' full control over water managent, rules for using artificial fertilizer, what to do with (animal) waste products, et cetera. So compliments to 'Big Agro': well played! 

And just f*ck small farmers, citizens, nature and animals, right? As long as you can make a few extra bucks. Who cares about your grandchildren? Why leave them a habitable world when you can buy a new yacht? Their problem, not yours. 
These days farms look more like this (Click. Warning: disturbing content. Unless you love seeing sentient beings suffer. Extra warning: you might instantly turn into a vegetarian)

Perhaps this shows you why The Netherlands wastes so much food: those few in power don't care about feeding people (or animals) but just want to be filthy rich. 
Great trick from 'Big Agro' to let 'the people' believe it's 'the elite' that's after the farmers livelihoods. While they themselves are factually 'the elite'.

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