Every year, a staggering amount of food goes to waste around the world, while millions of people go hungry. In an effort to draw attention to this pressing issue and promote sustainable food practices, the United Nations established the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste.
This annual observance, which falls on September 29th, serves as a reminder of the urgent need to reduce food loss and waste, and it provides an opportunity for individuals, organizations, and governments to come together to address this global challenge.
The International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste was first designated by the United Nations in 2020. It emerged as a response to the growing recognition of the alarming levels of food loss and waste worldwide and the subsequent need for action. Food loss and waste refer to the edible food that is discarded or lost throughout the supply chain, from production and transportation to retail and consumption.
Food loss occurs primarily at the production and post-harvest stages, often due to inadequate infrastructure, poor storage facilities, and inefficient transportation. In contrast, food waste occurs mainly at the retail and consumer levels, where perfectly good food is thrown away for various reasons, including over-purchasing, cosmetic imperfections, and lack of awareness.
The consequences of food loss and waste are profound and far-reaching. Not only does it squander valuable resources such as water, land, and energy, but it also exacerbates hunger and malnutrition, harms the environment, and contributes to climate change. Addressing this issue is crucial for achieving multiple Sustainable Development Goals, including those related to ending hunger, promoting responsible consumption and production, and combating climate change.
Theme for 2023: “Nourishing People, Nourishing the Planet”
The theme for the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste in 2023 is “Nourishing People, Nourishing the Planet.” This theme underscores the interconnectedness of food loss and waste with both human well-being and environmental sustainability.
1. Nourishing People: This aspect of the theme highlights the need to prioritize access to nutritious and safe food for all. Food loss and waste rob millions of people of the nourishment they require to lead healthy, productive lives. By reducing food loss and waste, we can help ensure that everyone has enough to eat, improve food security, and combat hunger and malnutrition.
2. Nourishing the Planet: The second part of the theme emphasizes the impact of food loss and waste on the planet. Wasting food also means squandering the resources used to produce it, such as water, arable land, and energy. Moreover, the disposal of food waste generates harmful greenhouse gasses, contributing to climate change and environmental degradation. By minimizing food loss and waste, we can reduce our ecological footprint and help safeguard the planet for future generations.
How to Participate:
Participating in the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste is a meaningful way to contribute to the global effort to combat this issue. Here are some actions individuals, organizations, and governments can take:
1. Raise Awareness: Share information about food loss and waste with your community, whether through social media, educational events, or workshops. Education is a powerful tool for change.
2. Reduce Personal Food Waste: Be mindful of your own food consumption and reduce food waste at home. Plan meals, store food properly, and compost when possible.
3. Support Sustainable Practices: Choose products and brands that prioritize sustainability and responsible production. Support local farmers and businesses committed to reducing food waste.
4. Advocate for Change: Encourage policymakers to implement regulations and incentives that promote responsible food production and consumption. Lobby for initiatives that reduce food loss and waste in your region.
5. Engage in Food Recovery: Volunteer with food banks and organizations that rescue surplus food and distribute it to those in need.
6. Measure and Monitor: For businesses and organizations, regularly assess and track food waste in your operations to identify areas for improvement.
The International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste 2023 serves as a powerful reminder of the urgent need to address the global challenge of food loss and waste. Under the theme “Nourishing People, Nourishing the Planet,” this day encourages individuals, organizations, and governments to take action toward a more sustainable and equitable food system. By reducing food loss and waste, we can nourish both people and the planet, creating a better future for all.