Waging War on Food Waste

By guest author: Erin Meyer

(story originally posted on Land & Ladle on Medium)

During the war, the government rationed sugar, butter, milk, cheese, eggs, coffee, meat and canned food and labor and transportation shortages led to low fruit and vegetables supplies. With the help of some powerful advertising, the government encouraged citizens plant Victory Gardens so that they would have fresh fruit and vegetables. The posters suggest that it is one’s duty to plant gardens and to not waste food.

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Super Cool Super-Charged Carbon Recyclers

By guest author: Erin Meyer

(story originally posted on Land & Ladle on Medium)

Did you learn, witness or experience anything jaw dropping today? Did you feel inspired? What excited you today?

I just finished reading Christiana Wyly’s jaw dropping blog entitled, “The Giant Leap Our Food System Must Make” in which she introduced me to Kiverdi, a tech company that sustainably transforms carbon dioxide into edible protein and oils using microbes.

Yes, you read that right and I will wait while you pick your jaw up off the floor.

Please bear with me will I nerd about the amazing details. Inside a bioreactor, a special class of chemoautotrophic microbes called hydrogenotrophs (nicknamed Super-Charged Carbon Recyclers by the company) transforms carbon dioxide and various other gases that are commonly found in the industry or can be generated directly from solid organic materials like agricultural residue into bio-based products. Once the products are generated, they are taken out of the bioreactor, the products are separated from the co-products and the water is recycled. These raw materials can be used in a wide range of consumer and industrial applications such as lotions, detergents, paints and packaging materials.

This isn’t merely a really cool science project. It is a promising solution to some challenges that the world faces. Recognizing the global need for more protein due to increases in population and the need of more sustainable ways of producing it, the company has created protein rich meal that has a 50% higher protein content than soy meal and an amino acid (the building blocks of protein) profile that is comparable to animal protein.

Palm oil is widely used in many consumer products like detergents, cosmetics and candles and as such, between the years of 2000–2012, rainforests equaling roughly the size of Ireland were clear cut in Indonesia to make room for palm plantations. Kiverdi realized the need for more sustainable, plant-based oils and uses carbon dioxide recycling to fill this need.

Kiverdi’s goal is to supplement existing agriculture processes with their innovative technology in an effort to feed the world and to create a more sustainable, cleaner and secure world. The jaw dropping technology is inspirational and exciting and it has the potential to fulfill the company’s goal.

The precarious state of the food system is concerning, but with this challenge comes innovation that can inspire and excite. I am excited to see what the future holds.

About the author:  Erin Meyer is currently the CropMobster Merced Coordinator, working at the University of California, Merced. She is passionate about reducing food waste and hunger. She recently completed her Master’s of Science degree in Sustainable and Resilient Food Systems after finishing two degrees in Integrative Biology and Nutrition. Her expertise gives her deep insight into ways to work with the community to reduce some of the great issues impacting the food system. Besides working with CropMobster Merced County, she is helping reduce food waste at the Merced County Food Bank. In her spare time, she likes to run and she enjoys blogging about food waste and sustainability. Read more of her work here and send her an email at emeyer09[@]gmail.com if you are interested in and want help with reducing your personal or organization’s food waste. 

Ten Surprising Causes of Food Waste and How to Fix Them

By guest author: Erin Meyer

(story originally posted on Land & Ladle on Medium)

Organic waste is the second largest component of our landfills in North America, which contributes to methane emissions and thus, climate change. 30–40% of the American food supply is wasted. This equates to more than 20 pounds of food per person each month. Food waste is complex and there are many causes.

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Going Where the Need Is

By guest author: Erin Meyer

(story originally posted on Land & Ladle on Medium)

I have been having this conversation a lot lately:

Body builder at the gym: “Hey, are you new here? I have seen you around town.”

Me: “Yes, I recently moved here from Colorado.”

Body builder: “What?! You left Colorado, for Merced, California?! What for?”

Me: “I took a job with the University of California, Merced to launch CropMobster,”

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Today someone egged my car. Here is why I am mad.

By guest author: Erin Meyer

(story originally posted on Land & Ladle on Medium)

Today I walked outside to find that my trusty Honda had been egged. Someone threw a single egg leaving streaks and egg shells splattered across it.

I do not care much about my hardy Honda. While it has been with me through thick and thin and it has been a trooper mile after mile, it is simply a means of transport. It gets me where I need to go. So I don’t care that someone made a mess of it.

Here is why I am mad: Someone wasted an egg on my car.

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Food Waste is Kind of a Big Meal

By guest author: Erin Meyer

(story originally posted on Land & Ladle on Medium)

Globally, 40% of the food we produce goes to waste every year and that is totally bananas especially when 1 in 8 Americans is going hungry. Food waste is kind of a big meal because it wastes resources and exacerbates climate change.

Can we reduce our food waste? Kale yeah! We need to turnip the beet and raise awareness, increase our knowledge and demand change. Here are some tips:

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Want to Fight Hunger? It Takes a Village.

By guest author: Erin Meyer

(story originally posted on Land & Ladle on Medium)

$61,156.92. This is what I owe in student loans for my two, soon to be three, degrees. It would be even higher without some generous scholarships and grants and my own contributions.

I was fortunate enough to live at home for my first degree. Upon moving out for my second degree, working 30 hours per week while going to school full time made it hard to make ends meet and I relied on SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) sometimes to get me through the month. I was, by definition, food insecure. I have now taken a job that pays enough so that I am no longer food insecure and in fact, it allows me help those that are food insecure.

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The Food Wastage Pyramid

By guest author: Erin Meyer

(story originally posted on Land & Ladle on Medium)

Food waste has become an issue on many people’s and organization’s radars lately and for good reason as food waste squanders our limited resources and contributes to climate change. Food waste has many causes. For example, in more developed countries food is highly wasted on the consumer and retailer’s end due to some consumers’ lack of knowledge about expiration dates and retailers’ perceptions that consumers only want perfect looking food. In less developed areas, food is highly wasted on the farm level and before it gets to the consumer due to transportation and preservation problems and inefficiencies.

Food waste has many causes and many potential solutions as well. Not all solutions are as sustainable as the others and it likely will take a combination of solutions and a global initiative to really combat this huge issue.

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Planting a Food Forest in a Food Desert

By guest author: Erin Meyer

(story originally posted on Land & Ladle on Medium)

Imagine walking through a lush forest surrounded by wildlife, flowers and beautiful towering trees. As you walk a little farther, you stumble across a tree with a perfect, purple plum. You pick it and bite into it. Sweetness takes over your taste buds as juice runs down your chin. Walking farther still, you come across a tree with nectarines and then one with apples and then a tree with pecans. All are thriving, providing nutritious and delicious foods for you and for the wildlife that hides from your view. Now imagine you walk a little farther and the forest ends and in front of you are the buildings of Merced College- Los Banos.

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