How the Food We Waste Impacts Our Future

Turkey, Turkey, and more Turkey. The ultimate Thanksgiving staple. Due to a wide eye and excitement, we usually fill our plates a little too much, contributing to the 50% of food that gets thrown into landfill every year. Thankfully, we have Second Harvest, an organization that helps to minimize the deterioration of our environment.

Second Harvest is a food recovery agency that focuses on environmental protection and food access to communities. They connect with the food supply chain to collect surplus food. These partners include restaurants, wholesalers, and local farms to redistribute the food to non-profit organizations like ESBGC. The food is delivered through the freedom truck to the various non-profit and charity organizations they support.


The world is experiencing a climate crisis and Second Harvest is aiming to educate their audience about the impact of wasting food. Last year, they did a study called “The Unavoidable Crisis of Food Waste.” In which they discuss A and B grade fruits and veggies, and the struggle to balance the harvesting of food with demand from the market. Often times, many crops get throw out because it does not meet the criteria of the companies purchasing the food.

“Manufacturers often implement conservative date labels (e.g. use-by dates, best before dates, etc.) to protect their brand and manage consumer perceptions of the product’s quality.”

They give you an inside understanding of the technicalities as well as the crisis itself with potential solutions.

Second Harvest prides themselves on their contribution to saving the environment. In 2018, they rescued over 15 million pounds of food. Second Harvest’s partnerships with community organizations help to raise awareness on the importance of being educated on food literacy and the impact of mindful decisions. Keira, VP of Operations at Second Harvest, shared her thoughts around how food truly impacts each and every one of us – including animals and plants.

“Many youth connect with us to find out how they can get their local restaurants involved. Second Harvest also supports in understanding things like expiry dates vs best before dates; as well as grocery shopping skills like buying less produce at a time so it doesn’t go bad.”


They also use their platform to help contribute increasing the ability to provide more programming and resources for communities. By offering food, it supports the budget of a non-profit. They can spend less money on feeding their members, and more on providing programs, workshops, and tools.

“We want to innovate and educate to address that crisis through community work,” she tells us.

Before Keira began working at Second Harvest nearly 5 years ago, she explained that she had no idea how the food supply chain worked, and the amount of food she wasted. Working at Second Harvest has allowed her to open the door to becoming educated around climate change and food waste awareness, developing an understanding of the food challenges different communities face, and most importantly, how this impacts people individually. She now strategizes when grocery shopping by doing smaller trips and appreciates the support that plants and wildlife offer to us.

Being self-aware about our food consumption and waste can be the stepping stone to educating the world on how we can minimize our environmental footprint. Taking the time to be educated on what we can do and how we can do it, is just the beginning of a domino effect of ending hunger, and saving our planet.

Want to know more? Connect with Second Harvest and find out how you can help.