Wasted Food to Wanted Food



Fraser Valley Gleaner Society

Wasted food is a major problem in wealthy countries. But in many places, people do not have enough food! Ryan Geertsma and Robin Basselin look at this problem, and one solution.

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Transcript


Voice 1 

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Ryan Geertsma.

Voice 2 

And I’m Robin Basselin. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1 

Imagine this. A farmer drives a large truck to a supermarket in Toronto, Canada. The truck is filled with hundreds of red, apple fruit. A worker from the food market looks at the fruit. He tells the farmer he does not want the apples. The worker explains that the apples do not meet market standards. The supermarket will only sell fruit that is similar in size, shape and color. The farmer knows he will not be able to sell the apples to any markets in the area. He fears they will be wasted.

Voice 2 

This is a common event in wealthy countries. And around the world, 1.3 billion tons of food are lost or wasted each year. At the same time, there are people in every country who suffer from hunger. Today's Spotlight is on an organization that is working to solve this problem. The Fraser Valley Gleaners Society is a Canadian organization. And its goal is to reduce both food waste and world hunger.

Voice 1 

Many people do not know that food waste begins on farms. For many reasons, farmers have to throw away a lot of the food they grow. Sometimes the farms produce more food than people buy. Other times, the prices of crops change. The food the farmer harvests is not worth enough to sell for a profit. Food is also wasted in the field. Harvesting machines always leave some of the crop in the ground. It may only be a small percent of the total crop. But on very large farms, this can equal a lot of food.

Voice 2 

But one of the biggest reasons for food waste is market standards. In wealthy countries, food markets will only sell the highest quality food. All the produce has to be the same color and a similar size. Sometimes a vegetable will be too big or too small. Or a piece of fruit will have a small mark on it. This food is fine to eat. But many food markets will not sell this kind of produce. And most of the time, farmers throw away the food that markets reject.

Voice 1 

But the Fraser Valley Gleaners Society believes this food does not need to be wasted. Instead, they think it should be gleaned. Gleaning is the act of collecting crops from a harvested field or using crops that farmers can no longer sell for a profit. People have been gleaning for thousands of year. But recently, the gleaning movement has become more and more popular. You may remember another Spotlight story on gleaning. This program looked at the biblical roots of gleaning. The Bible says that farmers should not harvest the edges of their fields or collect all of their crops. It says by law, poor people have the right to come and glean this extra produce.

Voice 2 

Today, there are no laws that make farmers leave produce for the poor. However, the Fraser Valley Gleaners Society follows this biblical idea. The Fraser Valley Gleaners is a Christian organization. And their goal is to collect extra farm produce and make food for hungry people around the world.

Voice 1 

The Fraser Valley is a highly fertile farming valley in British Columbia, Canada. Elaine Goosen is a worker with the Fraser Valley Gleaners. She told Spotlight,

Voice 3

"We are a very wealthy country. And this valley in particular is very wealthy in the production of vegetables and fruit. Farms in this area give us over 900 tons of vegetables every year."

Voice 2  

Every week, the Fraser Valley Gleaners collect produce that local farmers cannot sell. This includes many different kinds of vegetables, grains, and beans. For example, the Gleaners discovered that an onion grower was throwing away 27 tons of onions every day during the busy season! They asked him to give them the onions instead. A local pepper grower gives the Fraser Valley Gleaners 8 tons of peppers each week. And during the busy season, a local tomato grower gives them more than 11 tons of tomatoes each week.

Voice 1  

So what do the Fraser Valley Gleaners do with all this food? They make dried soup. The dried soup makes a healthy meal that can travel in boxes all around the world. More than 50 people volunteer with the Fraser Valley Gleaners. These volunteers do not get paid. Many of the volunteers are retired farmers. They hate to see food wasted. And they want to help hungry people.

Voice 2  

The volunteers wash the vegetables. They cut off any parts that cannot be eaten. Then, machines cut the produce into very small pieces. The volunteers spread the pieces of produce on metal pans. The pans go into machines that dry the produce. When the produce is dry, it will last a long time. And the dried vegetables are still full of healthy vitamins and minerals.

Voice 1  

After the dried soup is made, the Fraser Valley Gleaners work with food aid organizations. These organizations give the dried soup to people in more than 40 different countries, from North Kor3ea to South Sudan. When the dried soup arrives people add water to make it into a hot meal. The dried soup only contains salt. It does not have any other taste or spices. People can add their own special spices from where they live, so it tastes better to them. In 2013, the Fraser Valley Gleaners sent more than 13 million meals around the world.

Voice 2  

One person who uses soup from the Fraser Valley Gleaners is Oscar Palencia. Palencia is from Guatemala. He leads an organization called Buildin’ Guate. In Guatemala, 50% of children do not have enough to eat. Palencia started Buildin’ Guate to feed children living in hunger and poverty. But he could not do it alone. Judy Bergen works with the Fraser Valley Gleaners in Guatemala. Bergen heard of Palencia and his work. She decided to give him dried soup made by the Fraser Valley Gleaners. Now, Buildin’ Guate can feed 150 children living in poverty. Bergen told Spotlight about the difference the soup makes for children:

Voice 3  

"The teachers are saying, 'The children are sitting still. They want to learn. They are not tired all the time... We know it is the soup.'"

Voice 1  

The Fraser Valley Gleaners have found a way to turn food that is wasted into food that is wanted. And people around the world are enjoying the great harvest of Canada's farms.

Voice 2  

The writer of this program was Jen Hawkins. The producer was Ryan Geertsma. The voices you heard were from the United States. All quotes were adapted and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, “Wasted Food to Wanted Food."

Voice 1  

Tell us what you think about today’s program. You can leave a comment on our website. Or email us at radio@radioenglish.net. And find us on Facebook - just search for Spotlight Radio. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye!

Question:

Is wasted food a problem in your country? Do you worry about wasting food?

Comments


Avatar Spotlight
Mss Flamboyant
said on October 01, 2014

In my country in busy season there are many wasted food. The main reasons is that farmers can not sale these products such as fruit, vegetables and rice because some China’s speculators. The Fraser Valley Gleaners’ works are so meaningful which helps many hungry people all over the world. Our planet needs more organizations like this.

Avatar Spotlight
dogiangnam
said on October 02, 2014

My country has a lot of wasted food especially is fruits. In busy season the fruits is harvested from farms so many, in the short time quantity of supply grow very fast but the demand is not up. The price is very cheap. The farmer lost even they don’t want to harvest because salary pay for worker to harvest is higher than the profit selling fruits.

Avatar Spotlight
Dela
said on October 03, 2014

Collecting and subsequent utilization of farmer’s unsalable products appear as the excellent methods to rescue many poor people from starvation. I suppose, changing food products into waste should be inadmissible when many hungry people mainly children still exist in the different countries around the world.
Thanks ror interesting program!

Avatar Spotlight
AnaPaolaOrellana
said on October 15, 2014

Wasted food is totally wrong, there are so many people in the world without food, and a lot of countries waste their food even when it is good food or like they call “quality” food.
in my opinion farmers and food commercial should not waste the food, if they are not going to consume it they should give it to the ones who need it.
food is something necessary so farmers should not sell it too expensive.
The organization is doing a good job not wasting the food and giving it for the people who need it.

Avatar Spotlight
Severino Ramos da Silva
said on November 09, 2016

From: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (Severino Ramos)
To: spotlight programme
Subject: answer to the questions above
Date: Wednesday 09, November 2016
São Paulo SP Brazil

Dear Robin Basselin, Jen Hawkins, and Ryan Geertsma:

At first, I want to thank you to bring us readers and learners of English more one great article, thanks!

Yes, it is. Mainly in the Brazil’s souht.
Yes, I do. Wasting food should not happen because many poor do not have a little to eat every day. Here in Brazil, we have a big example of this situation. In the Brazil’s north and northeast the drought is very hard. so, there in these area the harvest is not enough when the drought is very hard. However, people in these places suffer a lot due to the lack of rain and water every year.

The best regards,
Severino Ramos
Brazil

Kaleb Kolaibi's avatar
Kaleb Kolaibi
said on November 10, 2016

I think that this problem exists around the world, but in different forms:
- In my country, in third overall, the rich world (a small portion of the community) consumes more food than it needs. And throw in the garbage. While millions of people suffering from hunger. Some eat the garbage that!
- In rich countries, millions of ton of wheat is aimed at sea, so that the price does not fall! While millions of people in the world suffer from hunger.
God bless you