Photo: Day 8: Your crisper could use a makeover

Join the fight to battle food waste (Credit: J Bloom via Flickr)

Foodprint: Saving the planet from your kitchen table

Choices about what you eat can make as big a difference for the environment as how you get around. Before reaching for your favorite comfort food this Thanksgiving, join the David Suzuki Foundation for our 11-day challenge, Foodprint: Saving the planet from your kitchen table. Starting Oct. 5th, you could win an awesome prize just by sharing your story on Facebook. Plus you'll get helpful eco-advice from me, the Queen of Green.

Answer the daily Facebook question by adding your comment. Don't have a comment to share? Check out the others and vote for your favourite. We're giving out fabulous prizes for the comment with the most "Likes".

The planet doesn't need another fad diet. But how much do you know about where your food comes and the type of impact it's having on the planet? What are you doing to eat more sustainably?

Foodprint: Saving the planet from your kitchen table

Yesterday, I threw a bunch of green onions into my backyard composter. I found them buried at the bottom of the crisper drawer, just on the verge of disgusting. No biggie (and surely not worth blogging about), right? At least they made it into the compost and didn't end up in the landfill...

But every time we throw out food — whether it's destined for the compost bin or not — all the resources it took to grow, package, produce and ship it are discarded, too, including massive amounts of water. Nature never wastes. But the average Canadian household chucks one in four produce items.

While a lot of us are plugged into eating local, seasonal and organic, we sometimes overlook (or try to ignore?) the food we throw out at home. Yet reducing discarded edibles could go a long way to saving you money — up to $600 dollars each year.

Tips to reduce food waste:

  • Plan meals in advance, buying only what you need for the day or week ahead.
  • Sharpen your food storage skills. Learn which ethylene gas emitters to keep away from ethylene-sensitive items — e.g. never store apples with carrots! Post our handy food storage tip sheet on your fridge door.
  • Don't wash produce until you're ready to eat it. Moisture speeds up the decaying process.
  • Take produce out of plastic bags and let it breath. Sealing in plastic also speeds up the decaying process.
  • Stuck with something about to go off? Find great recipes at websites like Epicurious or Vegetarian Times. Enter the food item and watch dinner ideas unfold before your eyes!
  • Have a back-up plan for food items on their last legs. For example, make apple sauce with squishy apples.
  • Volunteer to help a community food sharing program. This weekend I picked apples for the Vancouver Fruit Tree Project (VFTP) that would have otherwise rotted on the owner's lawn. VFTP distributes produce like apples, pears, figs and grapes to community partners who use them in food programs for daycares, neighbourhood houses and in community kitchens. Check out other similar programs in Richmond, B.C. or Toronto, O.N..

Did you know that half of all food produced worldwide is wasted — discarded in processing, transport and in grocery stores before it ever makes in into our cloth grocery bag? It's amazing that my wee bunch of green onions even made it into my crisper! If you're curious about our food systems, stay tuned for Day 9 of this challenge when we're covering food policy.

Tell us how you are putting an end to food waste at home and the Facebook comment with the most "likes" wins! Prizes up for grabs include Green Zebra coupon books (for residents of B.C.'s lower mainland) or a copy of Better Being by Ann Barnes.

What are you doing to reduce food waste in your home?

Lindsay Coulter, Queen of Green

October 12, 2010

Read more

Post a comment


Oct 02, 2014
11:59 AM

I live alone and find the ‘bunches’ in stores to be massively too big. I end up forgoing variety to avoid having it rot. Out of sight, out of mind. I also freeze my home grown chives before they go to seed (and forget that I have them). Eventually I add them to soup or chowder for colour when the flavour gets milder. MY local farmers mkt. is expensive, probably because it’s in a rich neighbourhood, but sometimes they will bargain if I ask quietly. I’d like if health food stores sold everything by weight so I could buy smaller amounts of more things.

Oct 12, 2010
7:10 PM

As a single, I try to buy fresh and local, only what I need for a couple of days. The regular walk to the Farmers Market keeps me fit and I don’t buy more than I can eat alone. The Farmers Market also keeps me from buying bulk or family sized packages from grocery stores.

Oct 12, 2010
2:19 PM

buy fruit and veg as we need it u can freeze alot of veg i evern freeze onions and put them in sauces y smaller amounts so if does not go bad and u have to throw it out alot of food gets wasted

Oct 12, 2010
1:13 PM

What a great project! I think everyone should take a closer look at their foodprint! And for those of you interested in supporting a non-profit that helps teach kids about local, sustainable agriculture and eating, please check out

Oct 12, 2010
11:56 AM

I usually purchase what I need daily. Not only that, I walk to the store, choose local produce ( although during the winter that is not an option), use recyclable bags, or forgo the shopping trip altogether by choosing vegetables I have grown (organic),and canned in glass jars. I compost like crazy and my gardens love it! The neighbors are giving me funny looks as I happily ask if I can have their leaves to continue the composting during our wicked Winnipeg winters.

Oct 12, 2010
9:15 AM

Plan the dinners for the week. Not only does it lessen the stress of the “what am I going to make for dinner” syndrome but it also keeps you from buying things “just in case”. Being a vegan I find it almost a necessity but even those that are not, it can keep you from turning to the over processed frozen dinner section and to healthier options. I write my dinner ideas on the side of my grocery list to remind me

The David Suzuki Foundation does not necessarily endorse the comments or views posted within this forum. All contributors acknowledge DSF's right to remove product/service endorsements and refuse publication of comments deemed to be offensive or that contravene our operating principles as a charitable organization. Please note that all comments are pre-moderated. Privacy Policy »