Saturday, December 5, 2015

More on Feeding the World

After doing research on food waste and the concept of "feeding the world," I started thinking about something that is big business in our nation, takes up hundreds of thousands of acres, and yet, for the most part, does nothing to fill hungry stomachs. In fact, although it is a food product, most of the harvest goes to...decorating...and then landfill. Have you guessed it? Pumpkins. 

Halloween pumpkins#2
According to the USDA website, in 2014 the top 6 pumpkin producing states raised $1.3 billion dollars worth of this specialty crop. In 2012, those pumpkins covered 52,000 acres in the top 6 states. Of these 6 states, it looks like only Illinois raises pumpkins for processing - that is for consumption as food. The rest mainly grow for fresh use which would be for decorating. 

Not only do pumpkins have a long growing season (meaning they occupy fields that could be used for growing other crops - food), a large number of chemicals go into their production. Check out this report on the Pesticide Action Network's website to get an idea of the type and quantity of pesticides used.

One shameful thing about this is that pumpkins are actually high in nutritional value, rich in vitamins A, C, and E, fiber, and minerals, such as copper and calcium. Pumpkins have a lot to offer, yet most end up carved up and then sent to landfill to (maybe) rot.

I cannot imagine what this type of food waste looks like to those in countries with high rates of malnutrition. 


David said...

Cherie, I couldn't agree with you more. I don't know of any one that I personally know that does any thing with a fresh pumpkin except decorate it for Halloween and then pitch it out in the trash the day after. If I can keep the deer from eating the flowers and buds next year I would like to grow a few to store in my storage room. I'll need some pumpkin recipes and there seem to be plenty of them on the Web.

Have a great non food waste day.

Shona~ LALA dex press said...

There is a little clothing shop in the really fancy shmancy area of Nashville and after Halloween they put their still usable pumpkins on the front door with a "free- use for a pie" note on them. I love when I can catch them! I use them for soup!

Cherie said...

Shona - That's great - I love pumpkin soup!