Hi, my name is Matt. Welcome!
Back in 2018, I discovered that between 33% & 50% of all food produced on this planet is wasted. That’s between 1.2 & 2 trillion kilograms of wasted food every single year! No wonder we’ve created all these social & environmental problems for ourselves.
That’s when I decided to launch “An Urban Harvester” on Instagram. Through my daily Urban Harvest photos in Copenhagen, my goal is to bring these Food “Waste” statistics to life!
After dumpster diving in thousands of supermarket dumpsters in the world’s “most sustainable” city, my mission is to end Supermarket Food Waste in Denmark & beyond.
By disrupting the prevailing supermarket business model, I believe this will help us transition to a fairer & more sustainable Food System. Woohoo!
A 2021 report by Tesco & WWF bumped the annual Food Waste figure up to 2.5
trillion kilograms (i.e. 40%), adding that this is “a conservative estimation“.
Why is Food Waste so devastating?
In 2019, a staggering 690 million people went hungry.
That’s 1 in 11 people who suffer from severe food insecurity meaning they lack “secure access to sufficient amounts of safe & nutritious food for normal growth & development and an active & healthy life.”
An additional 1.3 billion people experienced moderate food insecurity in 2019.
Critically, this data comes from before the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused tremendous economic impacts across Earth.
If Food Waste were a country, it would be the 3rd highest emitter of greenhouse gases after China and the USA.
Global Food Waste is responsible for ~10% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Project Drawdown – one of the world’s leading climate solutions organisations – identifies “Food Waste Reduction” as the most effective & important solution to mitigating climate change & keeping global heating to within 2°C of warming.
The Western Supermarket Food Waste Epidemic is a far more sinister phenomenon. Let’s take Denmark as an example.
The country’s 2,700 stores waste 96 million kilograms of food every year, i.e. 12% of the nation’s total Food Waste. The majority of this food is perfectly edible & would have been sold had the price been set by the market & not the supermarket.
Soon-to-be-expired food product prices are being kept too high, for too long in relation to their legal “Best Before” date.
251,000 Danish citizens – 61,000 of whom are children – live in poverty. Instead of offering Danish consumers attractive discounts on soon-to-be-expired products, supermarkets are hoarding & dumping this edible & overpriced food in local incinerators.
Given that the way industrial factory farms treat animals is described as one of the “worst crimes in history”, it is unforgivable that 20% of global meat production is being wasted.
With two out of every three farm animals now reared intensively, it’s worth emphasising the monumental scale of this unnecessary & tragic suffering.
Every year, 50 billion chickens, 1.5 billion pigs, 545 million sheep, 444 million goats & 300 million cattle are slaughtered for human consumption.
With 20% of global meat being wasted, approximately 11 billion animals’ lives are being mercilessly robbed for no reason whatsoever.
Per person, industrialised nations waste a disproportionate amount of food. This overconsumption of food across the world’s richer countries is affecting global food prices, often pricing out those who are least well off.
The total, annual amount of food that’s wasted across Earth is equal to four times the amount of food that could end world hunger with immediate effect.
When the global elite goes on & on about wanting to “Feed the World”, it’s vital to comprehend that global hunger isn’t taking place for lack of food. We’re already producing more than enough as it is.
One million animal & plant species are now threatened with extinction, many within decades.
The World Wildlife Fund has found a 68% average decline in global vertebrate species’ populations between 1970 & 2016.
With agriculture now using almost half of all the Earth’s ice-free land, the global Food System & its associated Food Waste is one of the key drivers behind the Biodiversity Crisis. Tropical forests – the planet’s biodiversity treasure troves – are under particular threat as their deforestation rate increased by 30% in the 2010s compared to the 2000s, with agriculture’s unchecked expansion identified as a key driver.
Nutrients & Chemicals
The global, industrial Food System is affecting a number of the planet’s key global nutrient cycles.
In addition to altering soil chemistry, excessive synthetic nitrogen & phosphorus fertiliser use is impacting our freshwater ecosystems & has helped create 600 low-oxygen dead zones around the world’s seas due to eutrophication.
Current pesticide usage is described as “a systemic problem”. There has been a “systematic underestimation of the risks” posed by pesticides when they’re present alongside other synthetic chemicals. The continuation of prevailing pesticide practices will likely exacerbate both the decrease in insect & bird populations & the contamination of groundwater & soils. Much research remains to be done to determine pesticides’ adverse effects on human health.
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