Today is a very important day — the first ever International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste! “Globally, around 14 percent of food produced is lost between harvest and retail” … “When food is lost or wasted, all the resources that were used to produce this food – including water, land, energy, labour and capital – go to waste.” In the United States, 30-40% of the food supply goes to waste, while millions of people remain food insecure. (from our friends at http://www.thefarmlinkproject.org)
We combat food waste every day at Opal’s Farm. Nothing leaves our farm unless it’s the man-made trash we collect from the Trinity River (and what the wind blows in!). Everything is either sold, donated, or composted. We collect food that would normally be thrown away from outside sources to build our compost, increase crop yields, and feed more community members.
What we do to combat waste may seem insignificant, but when it’s combined with what you do and what you do and what you do, it begins to affect overall food waste. On this first ever International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste, we ask you to join the fight. We can all make a difference!
Down On the Farm: Fall is a busy time at Opal’s Farm. There
is winter produce such as Kohlrabi, cabbage, and spinach and cover crops to be
planted. There’s rebuilding beds and design changes to be made for Spring, irrigation
infrastructure to be built, and the ever-persistent weeds and grasses to be
dealt with. I only wish the Bermuda grass did as well at my house!
Most of you know that September brought record-breaking heat and only a trace of rain. We had to irrigate more than usual, and the carrots had to be replanted in October, but we still had radishes, turnips, greens, beets, and Butternut squash to take to market. Unfortunately, above average temperatures were followed by an unexpected early freeze. We are probably winding down our market stand for the rest of 2019.
When we finally had some rain, it lasted for a few days. We
love rain though and, as for me, I had the first day off in three months! “Make
hay while the sun shines”, my Dad used to say so I did so. When the sun and
warm Fall weather returned, I looked at the spot on the Trinity River where we
set up our pump. I soon found out the negative consequences of the welcomed
It was obvious that I had some cleaning up to do before I could use the pump again. You see, when it rained the river rose a bit. As it receded, all the trash that washed downstream came to rest on the banks of Opal’s Farm. Plastic bottles and straws, Styrofoam cups, and an odd assortment of empty chewing tobacco tins, single gloves and plain old litter were strewn about the bank and floating nearby. The place where our suction hose usually sits and where we get our water to prime the pump was thick with flotsam. Everything had to be scooped up before we could irrigate.
I mention this not only because it causes a lot of work
better spent on the farm itself, but because everyone needs to know that litter
on our streets has a way of ending up in the Trinity. Storm drains and precipitation
runoff means that the plastic bags blowing down your street will likely end up
along our banks or worse yet, much farther downstream.
In October, we had the privilege of being an exhibitor at the Tarrant Regional Water District’s Trinity Trash Bash. Nearly 4,000 volunteers spent Saturday collecting over 28,000 pounds of trash. Let that one sink in – 28,000 pounds! Unfortunately, it’s only a fraction of the litter and illegal dumping that goes on all along the watershed.
I appreciate all the volunteers who take it on themselves to
address the debris in the river. It’s such a vital part of Fort Worth. Whether
it’s biking or running along the Trinity Trails, rowing or boating, or catching
a concert at Panther Island Pavilion the river is something we all enjoy. Here
at Opal’s Farm it’s part of our life blood, whether it’s for irrigation or just
taking a moment to enjoy a little bit of peace and beauty after a long day of
Before you throw that candy wrapper down think about where
it ends up. Solving our litter problem is something everyone has a part in, not
just 4,000 volunteers on a Saturday. Who knows, if each of us took a moment to clean
up our little part of the world maybe those volunteers could spend their time
on other ways of making Fort Worth and the Trinity River a better place!