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September 6, 2017 @ 5:14 AM by: Richard Steinecke

I like asparagus. And this time of year it is expensive. So when the truck brought cases and cases of it we grabbed it. However, on opening the boxes the smell just about knocked you over. We picked out the bunches that were still acceptable. At the end of the day we had to put the rest into the compost bin. In order for it to be compostable, we had to remove the two elastics holding each bunch together. All 75 bunches. The green slime on the decomposing stalks was repulsive as it splattered on my shirt. The stench was nauseating. The gooey liquid on the bottom of the plastic containers was revolting. I am sure that if the donors were aware of how ghastly the asparagus was, they would not have seen fit to give it to a food bank.

Working at a food bank puts you on the front line of food waste. In fact, one of the criticisms of food banks is that they are a vehicle for facilitating (and legitimizing) the wasting of food. To think, if the supplier of that asparagus had donated it to us just a couple of days earlier, 75 families would have had a delicious and nutritious vegetable on their plates. I then reflected on the food that I waste at home. We need to do better.

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