Food Waste Reduction Challenge 2010

Food Waste Reduction Challenge - February 2010

Thanks to Crunchy Chicken, I have a new incentive to better manage our food waste. This has been something that has always bothered me anyway. Having chickens to eat our leftovers has provided some relief from guilt, but even that is not the only solution. Although I would recommend getting chickens for this very reason. They are amazing little composters!

What does this have to do with gardening? Well, having grown our own food I realize the amount of money and work needed to get it from the garden to my table. If I factor in all of the elements that it takes to get food that I buy from a farm to a grocery store, and then my husband's wages to buy the food to feed us blows my mind. There has to be better management of our resources starting with ME. Our grandparents and great-grandparents were experts at this and its time to start looking back at their amazing skills.

Wasting anything seems to go against everything I work so hard for out in the garden and managing my animals. I try to make the most of all of our resources, using one's waste to fill a need in another area. i.e rabbit/chicken manure for garden, garden scraps for chickens/rabbits. It's a system where everyone benefits and it is a more sustainable one also.

For our food management, I started years ago to monitor our level of eating leftovers from a meal. We are not a family to have a different meal every evening. If there is still quite a bit of something in the refrigerator, we try to use it up before moving on to the next meal. It may not be the most EXCITING way to eat, but it is practical.

Here is some of the food we struggle the most with on wasting:

fresh produce (especially spinach, celery, lettuce)
sour cream
salsa (store bought)
beans (cooked and in fridge)
potato chips
bread (when it gets down to that last few pieces)
orange juice

I'm sure I could think of a few more if I really try. There are certain meals that I notice we eat better for leftovers than others, so I try to incorporate more of those meals into our weekly plan.

I cookbook I have that helps is:

It gives you ideas on what to do with common things you have to use up. My brain seems to shut off when I stare blankly into the refrigerator or pantry trying to come up with ideas on how to use up certain foods, so I can use all of the help I can get. This cookbook does just that. There are online recipe sites that you can plug in your ingredients and come up with something too. Try for some ideas.


  1. Thanks for the great post. We are trying to reduce our waste in general. We love burritos but we always have leftovers. Usually there's more beans and rice leftover. I like to add the beans and rice to home canned soup. It livens up the soup and uses up our odd leftovers. I also use leftover spaghetti sauce in baked ziti the next day.
    I do keep a compost bin so there's not much that goes to waste.

  2. Great concept... Love the post.

  3. this seems to be a really cool blog about gardening. you should check out my post on juniper bonsai tree gardening as well.


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  5. Great trick for food waste management and at the same time gardening.


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