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By: | Posted: 04/26/2012
Here’s the stat of the week: Food waste equals 25 percent of total food production. One quarter! That’s equivalent to 2.5 percent of total U.S. energy consumption. Wake up, kids; that 2.5 percent is more than all the ethanol produced in U.S. in 2011. That’s staggering. How can we fix this horrific issue? Well, believe it or not, proximity breeds efficiency and decreases waste. That’s one way.
Let me introduce you to some of the busiest folks I know: BrightFarms. They finance, build, and operate greenhouses at or near supermarkets to eliminate the time, cost, and distance associated with the current food-supply chain. They bring healthier, fresher, safer local produce grown by local farmers to communities. And this system decreases waste at all ends of the supply chain. Food arrives fresher, lasts longer, and has better customer appeal. Last week BrightFarms announced the world's largest rooftop greenhouse that it is building in Brooklyn later this year. Mario Batali and Brooklyn Borough president Marty Markowitz announced the project, along with notable politicians and foodies. The second project is in our home state of Minnesota. Its all hush hush at this point; when I can tell you more I will but this is a big, big, big deal with really cool people who are making a difference in our world. This is a new food system; one where food is grown by and consumed by communities with no transportation involved, less energy consumed, less waste created, and tastier food produced. Amen.
I had a busy last few days. House cleaning, network upfront presentations where all the shows from the Scripps Networks are presented, and a weekend at the Great Arizona Picnic, which was amazingly capped out at 40,000 attendees and every food entity in the state was represented. I ODed on chiles in a big way. But thankfully I am back home for a day. Whew. Tomorrow, I’m off to Austin Food and Wine weekend and finally, finally after that perhaps some sleep. It’s the busiest time of year for me. But lots of folks I know are a lot busier than me.
I returned home to find some great news waiting for me. My friend of 40 years, Jon Ross and his company MicroAid completed its canoe project in Matafa'a, Samoa, a town devastated by the tsunami and a place I documented in a Bizarre Foods episode the year before.
Now, every family in the village has a canoe to get across the bay to get to school, to the shop, and to the bus stop so they can get to work in the capital of Apia.
Thanks to the support of its donors, MicroAid was able to replace the canoes that were lost in the tsunami of 2009. Jon’s mission—to stay focused on victims of disasters after the world's attention has moved on—works because MicroAid delivers the assistance directly and efficiently. Jon personally oversees the projects from beginning to end and makes sure each project is finished. MicroAid also replaced lost fishing kits in the village of Salea'aumua, which makes an amazing difference for the Samoan people.
Please go to "Completed Projects" to see the details. MicroAid is the only humanitarian aid organization focusing on this kind of specific long-term disaster recovery and deserves your support.
Speaking of hard work . . . a big thank you to all my pals at MSN, Eye Boogie, and Reveille. Check out the Appetite for Life Webby Award heads up.
Andrew Zimmern is a columnist for Mpls.St.Paul Magazine and the host of Travel Channel's Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern.See bio
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