June 22, 2017

Canning for the Climate

What does preserving summer fruits and vegetables have to do with Climate Change?

Making small changes on where you source your food, planting a container or backyard garden, and learning to preserve the seasonal harvest can reduce the amount of carbon your household emits. You can also help reduce your carbon footprint by reducing waste of food at home and cutting the transportation emissions of your food by buying local.

Food Waste

Have you ever opened your refrigerator and had to throw away your wilted vegetables and moldy fruit because you did not use them in time?  In the United States around 25% of food is wasted at home. Food waste that goes to the landfill breaks down anaerobically and produces methane; methane is 21 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas.

But knowing a few easy methods like pickling and jam making can help you reduce the amount of waste you have from your extra produce. Canning extends shelf life and locks in nutrients without using chemical preservatives or sealing the food in plastic, which can degrade and release toxins into your food. Properly canned food is shelf-stable for up to a year and can be stored at room temperature. From pickles to applesauce, strawberry pie filling to three-bean salad, there’s lots of room for creativity.

Local foods means less transportation emissions

On average your food travels about 1500 miles from the farm to your table. Food that travels by trucks, trains, planes and ships has expanded our opportunities to get foods out of season but has increased the carbon footprint of our food. Food produces about 8 tons of emissions per household, or about 17% of the total. Worldwide, new reports suggest that agriculture produces around half of all man-made emissions. You can reduce the carbon footprint of your food by up to 7% by eating locally.

By buying or growing your foods locally you are taking an easy step to cutting the amount of emissions used for your food. Also consider buying local produce that can be grown in your regions without extra help such as greenhouses.  Since you are buying local you have a shorter window of time when you can get your favorite produce.  By preserving and canning you can have what you love to eat year-round without having to buy produce shipped from other parts of the world.

 

Click here to get your Canning for the Climate Kit

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June 19, 2017

Food Waste Video

 

For more information visit http://ivaluefood.com

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June 17, 2017

USDA’s Food Waste Information

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November 16, 2016

Plan a “no waste” Thanksgiving

Did you know that nearly half of all food in the United States is thrown away before it is consumed? The way we produce, use, and waste food creates nearly one-third of U.S. carbon emissions. Per-capita food waste has grown by about 50 percent since 1974, and yet there are 50 million people in the United States who don’t have enough to eat on a regular basis. So this holiday season, get in the habit of buying only what you plan to eat. Check out this great Thanksgiving Food Planning Calculator to help you plan exactly how much food you need to buy.

 

Quick Facts:

  • Approximately 40 percent of food in the U.S. goes to waste. Food and Agriculture Organization
  • Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year — approximately 1.3 billion tons — gets lost or wasted. Food and Agriculture Organization
  • Every year, consumers in rich countries waste almost as much food (222 million tons) as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa (230 million tons). Food and Agriculture Organization
  • Food waste that goes to the landfill breaks down anaerobically and produces methane; methane is 21 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas. (Environmental Protection Agency)
  • In 2008, the EPA estimated that food waste cost roughly $1.3 billion to dispose of in landfills. (Journal of Consumer Affairs)
  • In 2010, 48.8 million Americans lived in food-insecure households. Economic Research Service
  • Americans are throwing out the equivalent of $165 billion each year. Natural Resources Defense Council
  • According to an estimate by Feeding America, more than 6 billion pounds of fresh produce go unharvested or unsold each year. Natural Resources Defense Council
  • Reducing food waste by 20 percent would provide enough food to feed 25 million people. Natural Resources Defenses Council

 

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October 14, 2016

2015 Cool Congregations Challenge Winner – First United Methodist Church

 

 

 

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First United Methodist Church of Omaha Nebraska wanted to educate the congregation on everyone’s own complicity in global warming. How to get congregants to look at their own lifestyles and become aware of our impact on the environment.

They decided to help the congregation become aware of how much greenhouse gas was produced by food waste that is in the landfills. They worked with a company that has a vermiculure process (worms) to compost food waste in Omaha. Many bulletin inserts, meeting, presentations, and posters in the narthex later, they started to sign families up to begin bringing their compostable bags of food to church on Sunday. The goal was 50 families.

Their eco group was blown away by the 65 families that signed up to bring their food wastes to church. Their pastors invited the Kim Morrow Nebraska IPL director to preach and had a children’s message with real red wigglers to explain to kids (and adults) the process. The kids were both grossed out and all wanted to touch the worms. They also had a forum for all the adult and youth Sunday school classes about environmental stewardship. All of this on their first Sunday of collecting food waste! Now, seven months later, up to 80 families are participating and filling the 500 gallon drum weekly with food waste.

Their church’s eco team wanted a project that would educate about the need to change our lifestyles to be more sustainable. The need to be accountable for our own individual and community responsibility for green house gas production. Food waste was the means to an end. People, who signed up to bring in their bags of food waste, were amazed at how much food was thrown away each week. One 80+ year old was being helped with the ten pound of food waste she brought one week (she collects from all of her condo neighborhood) and she said, “This is such a fun way to make the world a better place.”   They have had two other area churches ask for their process and plans for this composting project.

First United Methodist Church entered this project into the Cool Congregations Challenge and WON $1,000. If you have a great project going on at your congregation enter it into the 2016 challenge an you could win your congregation $1,000!

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