3 August 2015 — Food Waste, And How To Reduce It


If, after enjoying this week’s program, you don’t happen to have a specific comment to add, please remember to “vote” in the poll at the bottom of this page, to indicate your attendance. Thank you!


SUNDAY, AUGUST 9 — 10:00pm to 4:00pm  — The next ONE MORE ITEM FOOD DRIVE, in support of Valley Food Bank, at Gelson’s in Sherman Oaks.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 23 — 12:30pm to 2:00pmOur FOURTH SUNDAY meeting for August! Special Guest Speaker: On the topic of the approaching El Niño, we have a brilliant speaker, Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientist (and Club Member) Dr. Jorge Vazquez.  We gather in The Fireplace Room at Denny’s, 5525 Sepulveda Boulevard in Sherman Oaks. (Meeting reminders: Inspiration, Yoko; Pledge, Daniele; Four-Way Test, Reed; Rotary Minute, David.)  BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING precedes the main meeting and begins at 11:00 a.m.

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 19 — 7:00pm to 10:00pm — SIXTH ANNUAL DANCE FOR THE CHILDREN, in support of The Rotary Foundation’s PolioPlus Fund and continuing the eradication of polio, Arthur Murray Sherman Oaks, 4633 Van Nuys Boulevard, just south of the 101 in Sherman Oaks.


We have launched our Clunkers4Charity fundraiser! If you know of anyone (yourself included) who wants or needs to donate a car for tax purposes, send them to our website…and to the Clunkers4Charity “Link” you see at the right side of this page. Funds we raise will go right into the community for our projects.










This month’s First Monday Program is provided by Club Member Yoko Matsui.

The upcoming August 9, 2015 Food Drive is the twelfth since we started the E-Club “One More Item” Food Drives three years ago. We are extremely proud of our efforts in working with local institutions like Gelson’s and Valley Food Bank, and the public, to feed the hungry and address the problem locally.

There is another issue surrounding food that we are not discussing enough–did you know that about 30% of the food we grow is never eaten? Food waste is a global issue, the subject of environmental, economic, and social concerns. Reducing food waste is one of the “priorities” in the UK, based in part on the efforts of the TED Talk speaker you will see in a moment.

There are different types of food waste. Institutional food waste happens when farms, supermarkets, and restaurants dump unaccepted crops, expired but still edible food, or leftovers into trash. There is also smaller-scale, more personal food waste where we trash uneaten food at home. I’m pretty sure many of us, myself included, are guilty of throwing out food at home.

There are a few things we can do to attack the issue by using the close connections we have developed with the Food Bank and other local businesses. We can also each change our behavior at home, by becoming smarter shoppers at grocery stores, planning our menus in advance, and storing food in better ways, etc. Can we also maybe share a dinner or dessert plate at a restaurant instead of each ordering a full plate? Can we maybe become more comfortable with doggy (and kitty) bags and even take an empty container to the restaurant if we know we’re not going to finish our food?

There is a word and concept in Japan: “Mottainai.” “Mottainai” is a Japanese term conveying a sense of regret concerning waste. It is an old Buddhist word, which has ties “with the Shinto idea that objects have souls.” It is a tradition, a cultural practice, and an ideal that we should not waste our resources.

Please watch the TED Talk and look at the links below. Let’s not waste the limited resources we have on Earth, because waste is very “mottainai.”

After you’ve watched this informative video, please continue (whether or not you read the long article) to the section in this Program focusing on what we can do about the problem.

If the embedded video does not work, please click here to view it on the TED Talk website.


This is a lengthy but comprehensive article from National Geographic that talks about how our food is wasted, and also what has been done so far in the world, mostly in the UK.  The photo atop the article can be a bit disturbing but the article has a lot of good information.  CLICK HERE.

John Oliver recently presented a powerful segment on the issue on his “Last Week Tonight” HBO show.  Due to some HBO-type language, we’re not embedding or linking the video here–but if you feel so moved, a simple Google search for “John Oliver” and “Food Waste” will bring the link right to you.


Feed Back Global is a UK organization that takes action on eliminating food waste globally. Their three major campaigns “Feeding the 5000,” “Gleaning Network,” and “The Pig Idea” deal with food waste and hunger at the same time in different ways. Though the organization is rooted in the UK, the first “Feeding the 5000” event was held in Oakland, California in 2014, launching the movement against food waste here in the United States. http://feedbackglobal.org/

Do you grow fruits and veggies in your backyard?  Ample Harvest, the US non-profit with the goal of “No Food Left Behind,” connects 42 million Americans with excess food in their garden to local food pantries, providing fresh food to the hungry in the community: http://www.ampleharvest.org/index.php

Food waste affects our environment, filling our landfills and producing a significant amount of methane–a potent greenhouse gas with 21 times the global warming impact of carbon dioxide. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a section in the website on why it is important to divert food waste from landfills, and what we can do. http://epa.gov/waste/conserve/foodwaste/


The opinions expressed by guest speakers, or in advertisements that appear on external websites linked to this program, are those of the speaker(s) / websites / advertisers and not necessarily of the Rotary E-Club of The Greater San Fernando Valley or its members. No endorsement is implied. Programs are presented for informational purposes only.


5 responses to 3 August 2015 — Food Waste, And How To Reduce It

  1. Lots of “food” for thought in the topic of food waste. There are so many facets to it. Thanks for bringing this to our attention, Yoko.

  2. There are many ways to approach the issue. Where should we start?

  3. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could get the ugly produce movement to gain momentum here in the US? http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2014/12/09/369613561/in-europe-ugly-sells-in-the-produce-aisle

  4. https://www.dropbox.com/s/0qupbehev5kvad2/Dive1%20copy.m4v?dl=0

    This is a video that can give you an idea of what some of the numbers are and also give you an idea of what some of our less fortunate members of our community do to make things work. Its not long, about 40 minutes, won a bunch of awards at the time it was being seriously reviewed. The challenges of food insecurity is a lot bigger then you might thing. UCLA did a study and 70% of our neighbors in Antelope Valley go to bed at night not knowing where or if they are going to have a meal for themselves or their children the next day. In the Valley we are looking at 45 – 55 %.

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