Food Waste and Repurposing
The relationship between Food Finders, the city of Long Beach, and Long Beach City
College, which aims to get nutrition education to the students at LBCC who use the
pantry, is one aspect of my purpose here at Food Finders.
The need to educate others on Food Waste and repurposing is an ongoing need that is
worth revisiting. I am passionate about this topic and will continue to do whatever it takes.
In a country as rich as the United States, children, no one, should be living with food
insecurity. I will continue to utilize the platform Food Finders has provided and any
opportunities that arise so that nobody is wondering where their next meal is coming
I realized that my knack for meal planning and shopping on a limited budget was
something I understood and was a big part of helping people reduce food waste. How can I
combine these two skills and make a more significant impact?
My internship at Food Finders has given me a platform to educate others on food waste,
repurposing, and nutrition.
With my nutrition knowledge and the Partner Agencies of Food Finders, I can share my
knowledge and passion with people with food insecurity. I have done many nutrition talks
during my internship, and the process has been influential. I teach others what food waste
and repurposing are while teaching them healthy eating habits. My favorite part is seeing
how people light up when they learn something.
Food Waste is a Huge Problem
Here are some things you can do to reduce waste. Do you know what foods should or
shouldn’t be stored together? This infographic from the Daily Mail is a great resource.
Repurposing, Resources, and Education is the answer!
At Food Finders, our Partner Agency Coordinators work tirelessly to get delicious food
that would typically go to waste into the hands of those living with Food Insecurity.
Spreading awareness through education is the answer.
The education and resources provided explain how to store food properly and interpret the
various expiration dates we see on food, such as “use by,”” sell by,” etc.
The FoodKeepers application supported by the USDA is a great resource to help people
sort through the confusing world of labels and dates. It can help you interpret the varying
expiration date labels and explain the best storage methods for various foods to reduce
waste. Knowledge is power. Download this app and utilize it.
Plan, Plan, Plan!!
Meal planning is one of the most significant ways to prevent food waste.
Fridge temp 39 degrees Celsius. Who hasn’t gone to the store hungry? Going to the store
hungry is the #1 offender of a well-planned shopping trip.
When you plan your meals or even just your shopping, it reduces food waste. And don’t
forget that planning ahead is also easy on your wallet–a big plus! l. Planning your meals for
the week and creating your shopping list based on your meals can cut waste by 15% or
Tip For Cutting Food Waste
- Shop the grocery store’s weekly ads. With the cost of food up by 25% or
more, I start my meal planning by finding proteins that are on sale that week.
- I do NOT go to the store hungry. Going grocery shopping hungry
guarantees, I will buy some overpriced and ultra-processed snacks that I
promptly eat on the way home. Shopping hungry not only takes me out of
budget but is unhealthy.
- I stick to my list.
- I prepare my fruits and veggies for the week. If I have salads planned, I
pre-cut and wash my lettuce, carrots, red cabbage, and cucumbers. I also
wash and cut up any melons or fruit for the week. Doing this makes busy
weeks easier and allows for a nutritious snack of fruit that is easy to grab.
- Buy Local
- Shop based on recipes.
- Fridge temp 39 degrees Celsius
You can do even more with the knowledge of which foods have the most significant impact
on the environment. Look at the chart below, and you will see that beef is the biggest
offender. I am not saying stop eating beef, but what are you willing to do to help reduce
How about Meatless Monday? Think sustainably and by eating less meat.
Nutrition Talks Program
In our Nutrition Talks Program with partner agencies, I do a basic overview of nutrition and
its importance with interactive tools that keep people engaged in what they are learning.
One example is my Nutrition Facts Label workshop, which starts with a scavenger hunt for
a pantry item with a nutrition facts label and ties up with a Q&A on the information
Working with the City of Long Beach to get nutrition education to Long Beach City
College is one way we do our part to reduce waste by repurposing food. It isn’t enough
that we are getting food into the hands of those in need but also to educate them on the
many nutrient-dense meals possible while reducing waste.
#StopFoodWasteWednesday #nutritiontalks #tipsforzerowaste #foodfindersinc #LBrecovers #healthyactivelongbeach #eatlessmeat #meatlessmondays
Kelly Alarcon, a Student at California State University, Long Beach, with a concentration in Nutrition and
Nutritional Science, is passionate about showing others the path to wellness through nutrition while
reducing hunger and food waste. https://www.linkedin.com/in/kelly-alarcon-194313220/