I never realized how much food Americans waste until I worked in a restaurant. And my mom worried about me eating the last 3 green beans on my plate.
According to California Watch, millions of produce in the U.S. rot or are plowed over, restaurants dump tens of thousands of tons of edible food every year, and even grocery stores who are encouraged to donate their surplus to distribution centers just end up throwing away much of their unsold product.
The Japanese have discovered one way to salvage some of their produce that doesn’t get sold in the market and we may be wise to follow. Springwise recently covered this Japanese initiative called Tada Yasai.
Tada Yasai – whose name means “free vegetables” – is a site that offers just that to registered users. The fresh produce given away is surplus grown by farmers in Japan’s Saitama and Gunma prefectures. It’s often left over simply because it doesn’t meet the aesthetic criteria imposed by many supermarkets – other than visually, the quality of the goods is at least as high as those found in stores. Quantities are typically limited, and consumers must both register and pay shipping to receive the free produce, according to a report in Japan Trends. Meanwhile, farmers get profile pages on the site along with the opportunity to sell their produce as well.