Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Food Waste...Storing Raw Materials...and Orderliness...

We live in what has rightly been dubbed the "throw away generation".  I remember in one of my first jobs as a youth...I worked at a cafe' where I bussed tables.  I was shocked and appalled to see how much waste happened on a daily basis.  While I sweated to earn my minimum wage...people would come in...purchase a tasty sandwich that would have taken me a couple of hours to earn...take one bite and then leave it!  And it wasn't because the food was bad that they didn't finish...because they would come right back and order the same thing day after day!!  They were there to drink their coffee and have a snack...there was no real pressing need to finish their food.  The food was an expendable commodity.

At that same cafe' the management told the employees that we were allowed to purchase day old baked goods for a discount...but if we didn't want to buy them...then we had to throw them out!!  They threatened that we would lose our jobs if they found out that we saved the food or gave it away...because they were afraid of the liability of someone eating their old food and suing them frivolously.

While that was a couple of decades ago...it still is a problem...and it has gotten worse in CA and this nation.  Restaurants in California as well as grocery stores and farms continue to throw out obscene amounts of food.  This recently written...sobering article says that "State studies have found that more than six million tons of food products are dumped annually, enough to fill the Staples Center in Los Angeles 35 times over."  Imagine that!!!   That waste makes me ill!  While our government forcefully takes our money for socialist welfare programs...to in theory "feed the hungry" (which is not a rightful function of government but of charities)...all that food goes unconsumed.  While people in the US wonder how they are going to feed their families in these difficult economic times...endless truckloads of good food go to the dump.

Such actions as a State...as well as a country are shameful and in direct contrast to the teachings of  the Lord who taught us to be good stewards and not waste.  We should make our voices heard...encouraging the restaurants we go to...stores that we shop at...and farms we get produce from to not waste.  It would also be good to participate in efforts to facilitate saving food...not by seeking to force them in any way...legislating them to obey...or using any other bullying tactic.  They should do it because it's the right thing to do.  Of course patronizing businesses that practice the morally right things to do...is a great way to keep such businesses...in business!

The best place to start is by controlling our own actions and influence our families to avoid food waste.  

Brigham Young said...

Such was the attitude held by many of those who went through the great depression.  I can remember eating at my grandmothers home who is from that era...and while she wasn't looking we would check the dates on the packages to see how old the food was...to see if it was "safe" to eat.  She had a reputation for never throwing food out.  I can still taste the stale chips mixed with the good ones!  

My cousin once poured himself a bowl of "Honey nut cheerios" one morning before a day of skiing.  When he lifted it to his mouth he exclaimed "These are like tiny rubber tires!!@!!"  We looked on the box and saw a picture of the honey bee mascot...but it was like an old school line drawing we had never seen!  We looked at the date and it was like a decade old.  When my cousin protested about eating it my grandmother said sternly..."Then you're not going to ski!!"  He ate the honey nut cheerios.  That bowl of cereal would not be thrown away at my grandmas house!

A person who has never known real want may not understand why my grandmother wouldn't just throw that old food out.  They may not understand why getting an orange for Christmas was an absolute treasure!  Or why someone would save a broken toy to fix it...instead of tossing it out and buying a new one. Why would someone wash off tinfoil and use it again!!?  Why would someone sow clothing and quilts out of a flour or feed bag?!!

They might also look at my grandmothers closet of boxes and boxes and racks and racks of shoes...many or most that she had never worn and wonder what possessed her to purchase so many shoes.  Not realizing that she had once gone without shoes as a child...and when she became financially able...she swore she would never go without again...and as like an emotional backlash...filled her closet to overflowing.

And they may not understand until everything they now have is gone.  As Joni Mitchell wisely once sang..."Don't it always seem to go...that we don't know what we got till it's gone".

We don't have to wonder if that day "may" come...we know that it "will" come.  All the "stuff" that is so easily replaced now...won't be at some point in the future...as the prophets have told us that...

" there will come a time when there isn't a store ."(Spencer W. Kimball,GC April 1974 Welfare Session)

and we have been counseled to...

“Take good care of your material possessions, for the day will come when they will be difficult, if not impossible, to replace.” (President Packer quoting the prophet)

and those are just a couple of many quotes that point to a future day of want.  Days where we will be inclined to “Eat it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.”

Storing Raw Materials

Now in preparation for a day when there is no store...and when we may not be able to replace our material possessions...we have long been counseled to store not just food...but "stuff".

Everything from nails...to bolts of cloth...needles and thread...etc...etc...

While I could dig up the quotes and try to compile an exhaustive list...the Lord has recently reminded us of what is on that list when he told us to store "Every needful thing".  So what are you going to need?  How long will the need last?

This knowledge of a future day of want...and of the command to store various materials and supplies...has led my family to hold onto various things...that if we knew they could easily be replaced in the future...we would gladly not cumber our ground with them.  This has caused for my family to gain a "pack rat" sort of reputation.  Extended family often chides us for having too much "stuff".  

The old adage "One mans trash is another man's treasure" is so true!  I go to throw out old leather shoes with a bad sole and I think "That is some good leather...perhaps I could make a knife sheath out of that...or I could repair the soles if I had no other shoes to wear.  What a waste to throw it out!".  Whereas an onlooker might just say "What a piece of junk...throw it away!  Buy another pair of shoes!"  Such a person might come to my home and think "Look at all of the junk he keeps"...and I would go to that person's house and think "This person has no "stuff"!  He is going to be up the creek when they have no store to go and get the things they need!!"

I live with a "scarcity" mentality now...preparing for a future day of need...while they live with an "abundance" mentality...thinking the world is a cornucopia that will not stop giving it's goods.


Now...I am not advocating living in squalor.  Living a life...tripping over everything is no way to live.

Clean and organized is what I aspire for.  I'm not there...but slowly and surely we are getting there.  As the Lord's house is a "house of order"...so should ours be.  

The truth is...that if you have a lot of "stuff" that is unorganized...you won't be able to find it when you need it!!  Defeating the purpose for storing it.

One should also avoid cumbering their ground with actual junk!  Things that have no intrinsic value.  Such things should be purged to make room for what you really need.

Question what you throw away.  Store what you'll need or want.  Learn to store it orderly so you'll have it when you need it.

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