What will your food story be like in 2019 ? Community gardener Joanne Butler shares ways to cut down on food waste.

With Christmas and New Year finally behind us, our body weight sufficiently doubled, and the fridge finally getting back to normal, I can’t help but wonder that over the festive season, how much food did we all consume? Where did it all come from? And how much of it was thrown out at the end?

It got me thinking about our food stories, how we write our day-to-day chapters on where our food comes from and ultimately, where our food goes.

Joanne Butler

As we begin a new year it is evident that we need to start thinking how we all can make small changes in what we eat to help create a more environmentally nourished narrative in this ever changing future.

All our food has a story, the beginning is where our food comes from. Buying local and organic is as good as it gets. Food can clock up some serious miles in transport if grown or produced in other countries, which results in a waste of finite resources such as water and fossil fuels.

Local food is grown and produced here and when you buy local you’re also helping support local too!

Ballyholey Farm Shop

Organic food is simply better for our health and if not possible to buy some organic produce then why not have a go at growing your own at home or community garden instead? (I personally would recommend it)

The middle of the food story is usually the cooking part. Now I’m no great expert in this department but I find that cooking local food in season helps a lot.

Cooking seasonal food

Literally going with your gut at the right time of year and cooking from fresh helps cut down the food waste. A weekly plan helps here also and while not always easy to stick to, it makes a huge difference to the food bill at the end of the week.

When I see stark figures that every household approximately wastes food totalling between €400 and €1000 per year, then making these small changes can certainly make a difference to your pocket too!

The end of the food story is the eating and the disposal part, the eating is usually the best bit of the whole story but the other bit is where our biggest challenge is.

Food waste in Ireland is huge, with over one million tonnes of food waste created each year and 60% of it is completely avoidable.

We really do have to try and solve this issue before this point but if completely unavoidable then it can help to reinvent any leftovers or to label, date and freeze instead. As a gardener I know the benefits of recycling most of our own food into great compost and enjoy wholeheartedly this final chapter!

So, Just like the plastic pledge, food waste can and must be avoided. We have to try to make the right choices that make the right impacts to our health and to the environment. Hopefully you can make some small changes highlighted above to help you cut down on your food waste and here’s to making 2019 your best food story yet.

Statistics taken from the DCCAE.gov.ie