Moms Key to Fighting Hunger at Home and Abroad

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It’s a sad truth that nearly 1 in 4 Triangle children are at risk for hunger while food goes to waste locally, and you’ve probably wondered what you can do—if anything— about it. If you’re a mother, the answer is a lot, according to international relief and development organization Oxfam.

Oxfam says moms across America and the world hold the key to fixing a broken food system that leaves nearly one billion people hungry every day, according to a new report. Mothers are the key to changing the system because we make most of the food buying decisions, there are twice as many women cooking as men, and globally, women spend four times as long preparing, cooking and cleaning up after meals.

Targeting busy moms , Oxfam has come up with five simple steps to make mealtimes healthy and declicious while easing hunger across the globe. I’ve checked them out, and they make sense and can easily be done. Now is the time to change old habits, especially as food prices are expected to rise, and in light of a new study recently released by the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources showing that North Carolina’s businesses and residents generate more than 1.1 million tons of food waste each year.

Here are Oxfam’s five suggestions for putting the food system on the road to recovery:

  1. Eat less meat: Access to water is essential to food security and more than 1.6 billion people live in areas facing water scarcity.  Meat production soaks up 8 percent of the world’s water supply.  If American moms were to feed their families lentils or other beans instead of beef once per week they would save 6,000 liters of water each meal. That’s the equivalent of 17 bathtubs of fresh water filled to the brim and then some every week.

  2. Reduce food waste: About a third of all food produced for people’s plates goes to waste. In the six countries surveyed in a poll by Oxfam, one in six apples ends up in the garbage– that’s 5.3 billion apples every year. Lined up side by side those apples would stretch more than nine times around the Earth. The greenhouse gases produced in the growth, trade and decomposition of these apples is equivalent to the burning of 10 million barrels of oil every day, more than the US imports. Only buying the apples we need and storing them in the refrigerator would help cut down on this waste. In North Carolina, the projected estimate of annual food waste that enters the residential waste stream is 673,362 tons, which ammounts to slightly more than seven pounds of waste per household, per week.

  3. Support small-scale and sustainable food producers: If consumers in Brazil, UK, USA and Spain ensure two of the chocolate bars they buy each month are Fair Trade it would add up to more than 12.5 billion chocolate bars a year, and this action alone could help transform the lives of people who live and work on 90,000 small-scale cocoa farms across the globe.

  4. Cook smarter: Simple changes in how we prepare food such as putting a lid on a pan when cooking, using the right amount of water to cook vegetables and reducing the heat as soon as water starts to boil – can cut the amount of energy we use in cooking by up to 70 percent and to help prevent climate impacts from hurting poor farmers. If women in the six surveyed countries took simple steps like this it would be the equivalent of planting 540 million tree seedlings and letting them grow for a decade.

  5. Buy Seasonal: A lot of energy is wasted growing food in the wrong place at the wrong time of year.  We can save enormous amounts of energy and cut greenhouse emissions just by eating more of what’s in season near us. In the Triangle, we can easily buy seasonal produce because our farmers markets are growing.  Here’s a look at where you can find a farmers market close to your home. Eating fresh and local, not only helps our family’s health, but it grows the local economy.

Oxfam has also launched a new Facebook app and Pinterest cookbook to help share recipes and tips for how to implement these principles. 

Categories: At Home, Green Living, Home, Lifestyle