The humans need to eat for living. This is simple truth, however nowadays people pay very little attention to it. The history of human race in reality is a history of struggling for controlling of the food source. In the old times which we know only form archaeological excavation (30-40 000 BC) the human population was relatively small, less than a million. The environmental resources were unlimited. Due to harsh condition of life the increase of population was also slow (doubling after 10 000 years). In more recent times when some civilisation arise (5000 BC) the dynamics of human population increase, and the doubling time was shorten to 5000 years. The development of civilisation continues and in the Middle Ages number of humans reach about 500 million and doubling time was decrease to 1500 years. Nowadays the humanity counts over 7 billion and only 13 years is necessary for gaining another billion of new peoples…… [Wikipedia]. Growing population with such tremendous speed is a real challenge for food production in the global scale, especially when you will consider that amount of the Earth surface suitable for agriculture is limited. In the parallel with the increase of the our technical skills the humans acquire better methods for handling and storage of collected food. Unfortunately easy access to unlimited amount of food with relatively low prices which we can observed in the late XX century in the Europe, North America, Australia and Middle East lead to the situation when very little attention is paid to rational usage of food. The research made in the European countries reveal that even half of purchased food is wasted. What is even worse, the distribution of the food or its availability due to economical reason is vary a lot between different regions. In the Europe half of the food is wasted and for example in Africa people suffer from hunger due to insufficient resource or lack of purchasing power.
An increase in the awareness of nations in rational food usage is a challenge for EU politics. This issue can be viewed an many different point of view: protecting the food resources, protecting the environment for its degradation due to its extensive usage (areas used currently by farmers), environmental protection prior to conversion to cropland or industrial areas, protection of the environment against pollution which is a consequence of increased farming or industrial activity and many others. When we discussing the environment we also need to remember that water resource is an important subject. Extensive farming need water as well as industry. Maybe it is not easy to see form the perspective of average Europe citizen but resources of fresh water are very limited and need to be also take in equation when we thing about wasted food. To counteract with this situation the EU introduced “Zero waste” policy. The principle of this idea is a rationalize use of food as well as other goods used in households. The outlines of this policy you can find here Introducing ZWE (898 KB). More information can be found at the web site. Reducing percentage of wasted food can be achieved only when we will take in account all food chain starting on field and finishing on our plate or trash. This is extremely complex task which can be solved only by multiple solutions applied to different levels of current lifestyle starting form EU resolution finishing at our habits and choices. The extensive analysis of this matter you can find here Food waste along the chain (807 KB). This quite long document (please, be brave enough to go through) showing how complicated issue is a simple reduction of wasted food. The will to improve food usage require coordinated actions at all food chain. This is obvious, but how we will know that something was changing for better? For this purpose we need a tool with will allow to monitor and quantitatively measure effect of the efforts. Taking in account the heterogeneity of the European countries is not an easy task. If you would like to know more see here Review on EUROSTATs reporting (472 KB), but remember I warmed you.
In a frame of this project we are intend to use a blended learning methodology in order to train students about food waste. The activity will be directed to searching of solutions for real issues connected with food waste in the wide meaning picked up from the different sources as local industry, administration or society.