A Call To Action For All U.S. Food Consumers

Northstar Notes

The ag secretary talked about the "complex environmental challenges" that U.S. farmers face and how climate change is at the heart of them all.

Published on: June 7, 2013

As I returned home from a farm interview the other day, I happened to hear the National Press Club's lunch hour session on the radio with USDA secretary Tom Vilsack.

The ag secretary talked about the "complex environmental challenges" that U.S. farmers face and how climate change is at the heart of them all. Whether you believe that premise or not, Vilsack made some solid points about the impacts seen thus far—winters not cold enough to kill pests, such as the pine bark beetle that is decimating Western forests; growing seasons changing due to warmer weather, up to two weeks longer just in the Midwest.

It was later in his talk that I thought he made an interest point and it got me to thinking about the subtleness of his statement. Vilsack talked about food security and how blessed we are in the U.S. to have the diversity of production and availability of choice. It is something we all know we take for granted.

And that is obvious, too, by how much we eat and how much we waste.

The secretary implied that all Americans should be taking ownership in helping with food security and safeguarding food supplies.

And then he started talking about food waste in the U.S.

The statistics he shared were really embarrassing. As much as 40% of American food supply is wasted. Food waste is the single largest type of waste entering landfills.