I’m going to get very ranty in a minute. But first, looks at these gorgeous golden wheat fields we drove through the other day on a very long drive across the country.
“Hoping for a bumper crop this year” said the farmer at the information office, where we pulled in.
Here are the silos that will be full to the brim with grain.
As a commited bargain hunter, frugalista and sometime dumpster diver, I’m pretty upset at a couple of big bakeries here in Australia. They know who they are.
At closing, all the leftover bread is bagged up into big black bin liners and put in the bin out side. Sometimes, the bread is donated to charity. In fact, my family spent Thursday evenings for a a couple of years ‘doing the bread run’. We’d rock up to the bakery at closing with rubbish bags and strip the shelves of everything left. We’d take the bread into the city to a food distribution centre. A lot of bakeries try to get the bread donated. Sometimes they can’t. The staff lack the connections, or certain charities have a glut of bread. It’s a system that could be improved.
But MOSTLY, it gets chucked. I’ve seen it. I’ve taken it OUT of the bins and filled my freezer and fed my family for a fortnight!! ( Don’t worry, it was all neatly wrapped and fresh as anything) But most of it I’ve had to leave behind in the dumpster. One time, I took my phone to the bakery dumpster to capture the wastage.
And the supermarket next door was just as bad…
There is Just. So. Much. Bread. Wasted.
I just cannot abide waste like this. I come from family that saves the last skeric of food for next time, and makes soup out of the bones and feeds peelings to the worms, and turns the sour milk into pancakes.
And I’ve been known to rinse out the vegemite or chutney jar into the stew, and cut the mould off the cheese and turn it the other way up, and pick the grubs out of the brocolli and eat the rest.
Food is precious, expensive and valuable stuff!
And 30,000 people die PER DAY of preventable things like malnourishment. Even here in mega-rich Australia, we have growing numbers of hungry and homeless. It’s so wrong for us to tolerate this waste.
What’s the solution?
Well, I have two suggestions.
Suggestion one : to the bakeries.
I know you think this poster is a selling point. But it just tells me you are putting your profits above your responsibility to value food as the precious resource that it is.
Please stop making so much bread! You guys have stats on what actually sells each day, on average?
Be content with enough.
Here’s a thought: aim to SELL OUT everyday. This is how you do it. Make nice bread and set a reasonable price and sell it all day. Half an hour before closing, make everything HALF PRICE. Don’t worry, many people will come in the morning and pay full price.
They just will.
And those who come at the end of the day will be the ones that need to, or the ones that were never going to pay full price anyway. Call me an optimist, but I reckon you’ll make as much money as before.
Suggestion two: to the rest of us bread eaters
Part of the reason that so much bread is wasted is that we, the Australian Bread Eating Public are OBSESSED with variety and choice.
So the bakeries make so many types, and several of each, just in case one of us rocks up and simply must have the skinny sourdough organic chia loaf, and no, the double baked rye with henna and sesame seed crust simply won’t do. We gotta get real.
Take and eat.
And we gotta train our kids to eat what there is and be grateful, (and crunchy mummas like me gotta eat the sliced white now and then, and not complain either)
I think if we all saw our great brown land, and the wheat fields, and the farmers and their really hard work, and the bakers up at 4am, and the people who live in countries where there is none of this, we’d sort this issue out.
In Chinese ‘have you had rice?” means “have you eaten?’ It’s their revered staple.
Here, bread is our staple. It’s the stuff of life. And it goes in the rubbish bin.
Our daily bread. Let’s eat it!!
(and if any one wants hot cross buns, I have 8 packs right here)