Food Waste Weekend

By Kristen Johnson

Our associate minister spoke today about Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead and how we are continually being called into new life. We need to continually make changes for the better, and always strive to be in relationship with God. The sermon made me think about our call to take care of the environment.

We have fires, floods, famines, and earthquakes, but we are then blessed with new life. Plants regrow, communities rebuild, and people find new love and life within tragedy. In spite of this new life, we are often so wasteful with our resources. Waste of any kind – resources, time, food, water, land, etc. – is counterproductive and harmful to our communities.

Two organizations, and GreenFaith, have come together to create something they call “Food Waste Weekend.” The idea is to encourage clergy in all communities of faith (Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Secular, Unitarian Universalist and beyond) to speak with their congregations about food waste the weekend of September 23-25, 2016. This is the first such event of it’s kind and it’s a fabulous start to an important discussion.

The idea is to encourage congregations to avoid food waste in the first place, but also to donate the excess to the appropriate organizations for people in the community to use. So what is food waste?

Food Waste is the unfortunately poor term we use to discuss all of the edible and wholesome food that is never consumed.  The waste of food is a problem that starts at the farm and ends on our tables.  This is not rotting or unattractive food as the term suggests.  Rather it is food that the farmer was unable to harvest, the grocery store chose not to sell, the food you throw out because the date on the packaging leads you to think that it’s no longer healthy to eat, the excess food in your garden that has overwhelmed you, the supersized portions of food served in restaurants, the three-day old bread the market throws away when the next shipment comes in, and a lot more.  (

As Christians, or people of any faith community, we should be leading the charge against food waste. According to, food waste negatively affects greenhouse gases, water usage, land usage, and biodiversity.

Without accounting for GHG emissions from land use change, the carbon footprint of food produced and not eaten is estimated to 3.3 Gtonnes of CO2-equivalent. For a sense of scale, when considering the total emissions by country, only the USA and China are responsible for more emissions. (

It’s time to end food waste and take care of the earth God has provided us.

Job 12:7-10 (NRSV: But ask the animals, and they will teach you; the birds of the air, and they will tell you; ask the plants of the earth,[a] and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? 10 In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of every human being.

It’s time to encourage people of all faith communities to end food waste and contribute to food banks for people who need it. It’s time to join together no matter what our differences are to help the environment, and thereby help each other – here in our own communities and worldwide.

Serve all with love.

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