Alright, my friends… this post is not for the squeamish, so if you can’t handle the yucky stuff, move on. I have a funny story to share. We had a lovely dinner out this past weekend, and halfway through dessert, I put my hand down on the booth beside me, only to discover something sticky… which I promptly blamed on my son for being messy and dropping his dinner between us. I was wrong. It seemed to be my purse leaking some awkward, yet sweet-smelling substance. Rewind a few days. Heading home from work late and a dear co-worker says, “Here, take this banana home – it’s a little too spotted for my liking”. Yup. Popped it in the purse to empty it later… fast forward to three days of overripening fruit accumulating in the bottom of the handbag. Lightly coating the contents in the thin, fruity film à la rot. Gross. Lesson learned.
Please tell me I’m not alone in this constant battle of trying to keep fresh fruit and veggies crisp and vibrant. Who else fights with avocados and zucchini, willing them to stay around long enough to be eaten? Or “gently reminds” their children not to play with the apples for fear of bruising? Of course, individual consumers are not the only ones who fight the rot. Margaret Barth, author of “Microbiological Spoilage of Fruits and Vegetables,” estimates that of all the product that is grown in the United States, 20% will be lost to spoilage. In Canada, 45% of produced fruits and vegetables are wasted. And 1.4 million kids don’t have access to healthy choices. A sad reality.
And although efforts are being made to rectify these issues, moving forward is prooving to be difficult. I watched a video recently about “American dumpster divers”. Folks who make it their mission to finding the treasures left behind by stores. Now, second generation iphones are one thing to find… but 50 lbs of overripe cherries? How do we save such a rich resource? One lady in the video explained it simply… time. Her crew of helpers wash, cut and process the perfectly-good-but-needing-quick-attention produce to share with those who need it. A job the supermarkets simply can’t take on, and so the dumpster it is. The divers have a worthy cause, although unconventional. How many of us are willing to make the sacrifice? Visions of one slimy purse banana creep into my head.
And so I muse. What “good intentions” do we have that seem to solve little in this messy world? God created the natural world and humans to co-exsist in perfect harmony. Sin arrived and made it messy. Unfortunately, nothing we can do can restore that perfect connection we had with our Creator. Ephesians 2:8-9 reminds us that it is only through God’s gift of grace are we re-united with Him (perfectly…as He originally intended). None of the “good things” we do can reconnect us. Despite our best efforts, good food still rots. If we work hard and make good choices, we can preserve a larger portion of “fruit” and share the wealth with others who can benefit from our efforts… but ultimately God’s perfect gift of salvation is the only way to an eternity in Heaven.
So next time you pluck out that bruised apple from the fruit basket, or search near the back of the fridge and discover the shrivelled up zuchinni (or dare I say find the left over lunch at the bottom of your purse?) be reminded that our best “fruit” still spoils quickly. The dumpster divers among us can assist in using our resources as best we can. We can help reduce the waste by working together to get the job done before time takes over and everything gets yucky. Ultimately, though, we simply must take the gift God gives us from His pure and perfect garden. And how sweet it is, friends, to taste that perfect offering!
Want to learn more about food waste? Here’s some interesting stats: Food Waste
Want to learn more about accepting God’s free gift? Try here: Perfect Fruit
Want to learn ways to make your food last longer? Here’s one source: Preservation