Recently, a very dear friend asked me why I keep suggesting that one of the guiding principles of FOR Solutions (Food and Organics Recycling Solutions) is equity, fairness, and justice.
This is a defensible question because the connection between recovery and local or on-site composting of uneaten food and an equitable, fair, and just humanity might not be self-evident. Actually, for some it might seem preposterous to suggest such a connection. Well, I believe they are mistaken.
It turns out that there are a lot of people that do not share the luxury of easy access to nutritious food. For some, the access involves food in general, regardless of whether or not it is nutritious. I can think of few worse examples of an inequitable, unfair, and unjust situation for a person to live. What makes the matter so egregiously wrong is that hunger is not, by and large, the result of an inadequate supply of food (at least not now, in 35 years or so, that may not be the case); rather it is the result of inequitable, unfair, and unjust distribution of that food. The amount of food that is wasted as a result of this failure of distribution is substantial and disturbing.
And, even when the overabundance of food availability is the situation, the fact that the food often travels 1,000 miles or more before it is consumed is simply not sustainable and actually contributes to the lack of equality, fairness, and justice. That migrant workers should have to live the lives that they do just to satisfy the desires of more well-to-do people far away is wrong.
Still, even if all of the food grown on the planet was equitably, fairly, and justly grown and distributed, there is still going to be some that is not consumed. It will have either gone bad before it could be consumed; it is something we don’t consume, like banana peels; or it is wasted because sometimes our eyes are bigger than our stomachs and we take more than we eat. Whatever the reason, this uneaten food must not be wasted by burying it in a landfill, burning it in an incinerator, or liquefying it and discharging it into a wastewater line. It must not be transformed into some supposedly beneficial product with designer bacteria or enzymes. It must be composted, just as nature has done for millennia.
But composting alone is not the solution to the equity, fairness, or justice issue. For composting to address those concerns, it must become an indispensible part of a larger paradigm. Uneaten food must be recovered locally. This will create jobs. It must then be composted locally. This will create jobs. The compost must be used locally to restore or sustain the vitality of soil so that eco-region appropriate food-producing plants may be grown locally, especially in areas not commonly considered as potential gardens. This addresses the resiliency issue that is becoming increasingly important to those interested in sustainability. Growing and harvesting this food will create jobs. Migrant workers will be able to settle – some might say set down roots and the relevance of this metaphor is not lost on me – send their children to the same school to complete their education, and live more equitable, fair, and just lives. This food must then be distributed locally to schools, colleges/universities, hospitals, homeless shelters, grocery stores, etc., so that it is no longer more affordable to purchase food of little to no nutritional value than it is to purchase nutritious, organically produced food. The adage you are what you eat is in very large part true. The costs associated with transportation will now be saved and those savings should be passed on to the consumer in the form of lower prices for the locally grown and harvested food. This distribution will create jobs. This paradigm allows for low-income people to have access to the kind of food that is currently available predominantly only to individuals of higher income. In other words, it makes access to food more equal, fair, and just! The foundation on which this kind of equality, fairness, and justice exists is the local recovery and composting of uneaten food. This is why I state that a guiding principle of FOR Solutions is equity, fairness, and justice.
The challenge, or opportunity depending on your perspective, for the composting industry was to create a technology that would allow for small-scale, local, decentralized recovery and composting of uneaten food; a technology that did not treat uneaten food as a waste product to be made to disappear with as little effort and expense as possible even if that disappearing act is entirely inconsistent with the concepts of resiliency and/or sustainability. The opportunity, I’ll take a stand here, was to create a technology that is clean, maximally efficient, both biologically and economically, easy to operate, aesthetically pleasing, and safe that could transform uneaten food into nutrient-dense compost in amounts that would be generated on-site or locally in as short a period as nature will allow. That was the motivation behind the research and development that has resulted in the FOR Solutions patented state-of-the-art design.
If all one ever searches for are answers to questions about why certain situations exist, that is likely all he/she will ever find. If, however, one searches for solutions to why certain situations exist, then it is likely that is precisely what he/she will discover or create. Answers may be the equivalent of a setting Sun – the end of a story; while solutions have the potential be the equivalent of a Sunrise – the dawn of a new beginning. That’s why our name is FOR Solutions and not FOR Answers!
So, when I state that a guiding principle of FOR Solutions is equality, fairness, and justice, I’m stating that FOR Solutions stands for creating a better world for all of humanity, the dawn of a new beginning. That is the reason for the development of our technology.
We believe that it is possible for human societies to be more equitable, fair, and just when it comes to the food system.
We believe that how societies treat uneaten food is a telltale sign of their attitudes toward and respect for nature and natural resources.