Posting every Friday at noon is how I act in solidarity with young climate strikers all over the world who want their elders to save their future.
The Farmlink Project has only been around since the beginning of the pandemic but it already has volunteers all over the lower 48 states and Mexico. The leaders are all young and, up until recently, were all volunteers. They became so popular with donors, they have hired staff and organized more good things to do. It’s a wonder.
Their seed thought came after the revelation that a lot of food is wasted by grocery stores, restaurants, institutions and families. They discovered that farmers often aren’t able to get their produce off their farms or find a price good enough to make a profit; so they let it rot in the fields. And this waste happens even when food insecurity is epidemic.
They found ways to get the food to food banks with volunteers collaborating with farmers — and with a bunch of donors. CBS and other outlets were so thrilled with these kids they all created segments to laud their work. Here’s one.
Such a waste of a planet
The World Wildlife Fund says “ an estimated one-third of all the food produced in the world goes to waste. … And if food goes to the landfill and rots, it produces methane—a greenhouse gas even more potent than carbon dioxide. About 6%-8% of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced if we stop wasting food.”
The world Wildlife fund was started in 1961 by a squad of super rich people and royals, six years before Buffalo Springfield sang For What It’s Worth. Today’s young activists are a lot better at organizing the rich instead of just talking about them. I think Farmlink is a good example.
Farmlink relates WWF’s stats more colorfully: “If food waste was a country, it would be the third largest contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions.” I did not verify their chart but they offer one to make their point:
Over one-third of all produce grown in the U.S. is wasted every year, and it happens at every step of food production. Tens of millions of pounds of edible produce are left unharvested, lost in transit, processing, or retail, or thrown away by consumers.
The majority of food waste that occurs at the warehouse, store, or consumer level is ultimately sealed in a landfill, where it releases methane—a greenhouse gas with over 30 times the heat trapping ability of carbon dioxide. Landfills are responsible for almost 15 percent of the country’s methane emissions, with organic matter making up the largest percentage of total landfill mass.
Crops left in the field don’t expel the same volume of greenhouse gases, but they do account for massive amounts of wasted resources. A 2016 study estimates that 21 percent of water, 18 percent of cropland, and 19 percent of fertilizer in the U.S. are dedicated to food that is never eaten.
I made a donation to Farmlink and they wrote back with more info:
“Since our founding in April 2020, we have delivered nearly 50 million pounds of produce from farms to food banks — or the equivalent of 42 million meals (and counting)! We have provided $3 million in economic relief to farmers and truck drivers, all the while preventing 40 million pounds of carbon emissions.”
People like me wanted to support this good work. Our donations
“made it possible for us to formalize our 501(c)(3) status and take on a full-time staff, thereby ensuring institutional longevity, as well as build out Carbonlink, our carbon offset program for a sustainable food system….While our small unit of full-time staff focuses on operational continuity, our 120-person volunteer base of students continues to serve as the engine of this organization.”
It is a wonder how these young people cared. And it is a wonder that so many people wanted to support them. I think the greatest wonder is their quick contribution to meeting an obvious need: food insecurity and climate change caused by wasted food.