My greatest takeaway from my internship at the Hannaford Career Center has been gaining a deep appreciation for the work that goes into producing food, especially meat. People spend many months raising animals that are meant to be eaten, not thrown in the trash. There are so many issues with the idea of food waste, but the biggest one might be respect. It doesn’t seem like it, but it’s disrespectful to throw away food. Someone did exhausting manual labor for months to take care of that animal. Someone did the heartbreaking job of slaughtering that animal. Someone took the time to inspect it and make sure it was safe to eat. Someone transported and distributed it to us. Most of all, the animal gave up its life for our consumption. Though it didn’t choose that fate, the reality is that it died for us. To throw away meat is to disrespect all of the players listed in that chain.
I was talking to a coworker who raised two lambs over several months. After the lambs had been processed and frozen the freezer somehow got accidentally unplugged. All of the meat from both lambs rotted before anyone discovered the mistake. She told me that she cried for days after it happened. Her time and hard work over the past few months felt like a complete waste. Hearing her sadness over the loss of the meat, I felt like I really understood the significance of food waste for the first time. Food waste is not to be taken lightly. A huge amount of effort that we often don’t appreciate goes into what is on our plate. We must honor those who brought it to us by enjoying what we have in front of us and making use of as much of it as possible.