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Dr. Peter Epps

Katherine Miller

ENGL 1213

April 28, 2017

The Answer to Hunger is in Your Trash

The planet Earth is a beautiful planet that inhabitants many organisms, of all shapes and

sizes, including us, humans. Humans are a growing population and are expected to continue to

grow. Demographers currently project that Earths population will reach over nine billion by

2050 (Unit 5). This projection is also assuming that fertility rates are going to decrease at a

certain rate. As fertility rates fluctuate so will the population growth rates, either way the

population is going to increase in the next thirty years to come. This opposes a dilemma, how to

keep all of these people alive, how to keep them fed. Even if the population rate does not reach

the 9 billion by 2050 the population is still going to have a continuing battle with hunger. Due to

the fact that the world population is currently sitting at 7 billion, as there are still starving

populations that live on planet Earth. Something has to change in order to feed the people that we

have now and to be able to feed the additional two billion people Earth is expected to gain in the

next 30 years. Feeding the world by 2050 is a wicked problem that can be managed by

converting human food waste to feed cattle, to later be used for milk and meat, with participants

being anyone who produces, distributes, prepares, and consumes food.

Farmers give us the food that we eat everyday, the apples, carrots, tofu, beef, it would

not be possible without farming. Farming is something that everyone benefits from but not many

people know much about. One of the biggest challenges that farmers face is location; farming

cannot be done just anywhere and, viable land is needed to grow crops for humans and for
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animals, but the land is not as available as you may think. A website called population educator

has a lesson plan, that does a wonderful job of showing the land that can be used for farming on

earth. Lets say for a moment that the Earth is an apple. First, begin with slicing the apple into

quarters, and set three of them aside. These three are the water that covers earth and the one

remaining piece represents land. Next, take that land piece and cut it in half. One piece shows the

habitable portion of the land. The other piece is the arctic, desert, swamps, and other places like

extremely rocky mountains that people cannot live nor farm. Take the habitable piece and cut it

into quarters. The three pieces show the amount that is habitable but cannot be used for farming.

These sections are either too wet, too dry,protected wild land, in the city, or covered with

schools, malls, etc. Take the remaining piece, and peel off the skin. The skin of the 32nd piece of

the apple is the soil that can be used for farming (Unit 3). This alone provides a very large

dilemma when trying to feed a hungry world. The amount of land that can be used for farming is

not going to increase either as the growing population is going to need space to live and will very

likely take away from the 32nd slice of the apple, that represents Earth.

When it comes to making a change to help feed the population, there are a few different

paths that citizens and farmers as a team can together, to increase the food produced and the

number of people fed. These paths need to be sustainable and is not possible unless the whole

agricultural system is environmentally, socially and economically sustainable. One option to

produce food is a technological advancement, that will give a crop a higher yield, making them

more efficient. This was previously done in early 1900s with the Green revolution that was

fathered by Norman Borlaug. This allowed to feed more people with the same amount of plants

and acreage. Norman Borlaug saved billions of people and received a nobel peace prize in 1970

(Norman). However, today, his actions are seen not so peaceful, as this society is straying away
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from genetically modified organisms(GMOs), and hybrid plants that made the green revolution

possible. This is not a very sustainable option at the moment in the social standpoint, as more

people see GMOS in a negative way. Another method would be to improve the efficiency in

livestock. Which is also being done as best as producers can with the resources available, and

new methods are constantly being sought after. As finding new methods, in this field is

extremely difficult and time consuming, eating less could be another option; however humans

are a generally greedy with their food so, making this not social sustainable option. This was also

pushed during the world war periods. As food consumption was cut down during the food

shortages, there were still hungry people throughout those times. The rapid rate for which

population is currently growing will be too steep to cut food consumption enough to counteract


Finding a solution to feeding more people using a sustainable method is difficult but yet

necessary. Being more efficient is something that everyone is constantly trying to strive for and

in many cases is not very well done. Food is a place that we are not always very efficient in.

Some segments of the agriculture industry have improved their efficiency, for example

butchering an animal. Every part of pork is used to make, chops to sausage, to footballs, to

marshmallows, and even explosives. Other segments of the industry are lacking this degree of

efficiency, for example produce. 52 percent of fruit and vegetables are lost in the USA, Canada,

Australia and New Zealand. Fruit and vegetable takes up 28 percent of the food that is wasted by

consumers both in and out of the home. Food waste up into five categories one, production

losses, two, postharvest, handling and storage losses, three, processing and packaging losses,

four, distribution and retail losses, and five consumer losses. Fruit and vegetables ranked first in

percentage of food lossage in three categories and second and fourth in the other two (Gunders,
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pg, 5-6). This shows that fruit and vegetables are being wasted in all stages. In the harvesting

phases farmers often lose food because they are not the right shape or size. Take a moment and

think about the carrots you but at the store. Do you ever but a large bag a regular carrots and find

ones that are half the size of the others? Do you get a carrot that is split in two or has two roots

branches? The answer is most likely no. Your carrots are usually pretty, but what happened to

the ugly carrots? Well todays ugly carrots are usually shaved down and cut into the baby cut

carrots. However, not all produce has a place where the rejects can go, besides the rash or

compost pile. We see the same problem in restaurants, stores, and homes. When the worker in the

grocery store drops the bin and the apples get really bruised. What happens? The apples cannot

be sold they get put in the trash. In food preparation we cut off the ends, take out the seeds, take

out the cores, peel off the skins, and throw them all away. More food, product and hard earned

time and money is being thrown away. All of this could change, and should change. All of this

money, time, food, and product could be used for something much greater than trash. The answer

to world hunger lise in your trash can. Humans are picky in that we like the pretty food, and we

eat with our eyes first. We do not like bruises and the ends, peels, and cores.

Yet, there is a large population that loves all of these things, cattle. When you are cooking

in the kitchen or eating food save the food that is not an animal product and put into a bag or bin

and take it to your local beef, lamb or goat producer. All of these three types of livestock are

unique due to their digestive systems. Ask someone within animal agriculture, and they will tell

you that ruminants are amazing for their digestion efficiency, and that they are all the same in

that they have a rumen, this qualifies these animals as ruminants. Their stomach is the main

difference, often said that they have four stomachs. This is a myth but not too far off, in reality

they have one stomach with four chambers the obbaomassim, abomasum, rumen, and reticulum.
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The food will travel through these chambers. The high acidity and large amounts of bacteria and

microbes break down food through a fermentation process. The unique physical and chemical

structure give cattle and other ruminants the ability to digest things like grass, cotton hulls, and

corn stalks that they eat on an everyday basis.

Once the food is donated to the local farmers, they can ration out the waste to meet the

nutrition needs of the animals and ensure that there is no animal products in the donated waste. It

is known around the ranching and agricultural community, that Purina feeds is one of the most

popular cattle feeds. Purina cattle grower is used for cattle that farmers are trying to produce

beef, similar to the majority of the feed lot cattle in our given scenario. The feed is composed of

plant based products yielding a 12 percent protein, 3.5 percent fat and 15 percent fiber

(Nutrebeef). These percentages can be used as a baseline to compare or formulate, the food waste

into a formula that will yield similar results as the feed Purina feed.

Bram s whole wheat bread one loaf contains 72 grams of protein 18 grams of fat and 32

grams of fiber (Artisan).When looks at the nutritional components we see that the bread

nutritionally is similar to the purina feed. Using that knowledge we know that the bread could be

fed as the major nutritional component to the new cattle feed. This is very similar to cattle feed

and is a typical item that we see wasted in America. We waste almost 900,000 tonnes of bread

every year around 24 million slices every day(Bread). The amount of bread we waste is

astronomical. If bread alone was converted to cattle feed a huge impact could be made, both on

the environment and for society. Cattle need an average 2 percent of their weight a day in grain.

Cattle are similar to humans in the sense that those with a larger frame tend to consume more,

but every steer is different and can eat more or less than the 2 percent. Assuming in a feedlot of

cattle the average weight is 1,200 pounds, considering calves on grain weigh about 400 and the
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are slaughtered roughly 1,500 or 2,000 pounds and they take anywhere from 120 to 180 days to

reach market maturity (University). Assuming that it takes 200 days to reach market maturity and

the average weight of the market cattle in the lot is 1,200 and they will eat 24 pounds of bread

alone, we can feed 375,000 steers a year from the bread waste and adding a forage that cattle


Forage is needed in a rumen in able to have proper digestion. The forage or roughage will

agitate and activate the villi that absorb the nutrients. The roughage is also key for the high

acidity to have something to break down and the cattle will later regurgitate and chew on,

breaking it down more, this is known as chewing of the cud. The forage requirement of a rumen

could be met from potentially lettuce and herb twigs that are also being thrown away. The forage

could also be supplemented in the traditional feedlot methods of hay and silage. Either way beef

can be produced from food that is normally being thrown away. This number is also just from

bread, image what all could be done with all of the food waste. 40 percent of food in the United

States today goes uneaten.4 That is more than 20 pounds of food per person every month

(Gunders). Assuming that 20 pounds a month is consumable for cattle, not containing meat, and

that the U.S. population is at 324.9 million (U.S), we could 16,245,000 head of beef cattle of

year, if every America gave their food waste.

Once beef is reached pull maturity, are fatten up, the next steps are where we as a

population is benefited the most. Cattle can then be sent to slaughter to be processed and used in

everyday products that we already know and love. Beef is the main output of the slaughter

process. The beef whether it is steak, ground beef, liver, can then either be sold in markets and

store, could be sent to starving and malnourished people across the globe, or both. The by
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products can then be used for everyday products which could also make this items less expensive

due to supply and demand.

Cows could also benefit from the converted waste, they could be feed the products to use

that energy to produce milk. The milk can then be pasteurized sold or used to produce many

other nutrient dense products, like sour cream, yogurt, ice cream, etc., that can be once again sold

or given to hungry. Jeff Simons from Elanco states that, Food banks say that milk is the number

one most demanded item (Zimmcomm). Milk is full of fat which is vital in brain development,

especially for youth. Milk also high levels of calcium to support bone development. Milk is such

a nutrient dense product that would be better off, from a nutritional standpoint, for the

malnourished population and rice and vegetables. Milk is also unique from beef in that it can be

dried into a powder that increases its shelf life, allowing it to be shipped all over the globe. All

that needs to be added to the powered milk is water. This means that wherever there is a glass of

water, there can be a glass of milk.

Even if the beef and milk is not used to feed the hungry there are other reasons to support

and be a contributor in the process of feeding cattle our human food waste. Landfill waste will be

cut down, this will allow the greenhouse emissions to be cut down, as the food that formerly

would have been out in landfills that once was rotting and burning, is instead producing a viable

product. The landfills will also become smaller allowing more room for farming, animals and

people. Carbon foots can also be cut down because tractors will not have to be driven as much

planting crops, as we will have become more efficient in the way that we use the resources that

we already have at our fingertips. When done on a large scale the operations could be owned by

the government or a company. They have the opportunity to hire employees to sift through waste,

feed, maintain, and observe the cattle. These jobs would be funded from the milk and/or beef
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products that later would be sold. The jobs produced also further benefits the economy and

society collectively.

The logistics are simple. The only things that cattle cannot consume is animal products.

The animal products can cause BSE which a disease in livestock that can cause detrimental

effects. So all of the fruit, vegetable, and grain waste and be feed to cattle. Starting this change in

society can be started small and done locally. These practices could also been done on a larger

scale, similar to recycling plastic and paper recycling practices. The public does not need any

more incentive than helping the environment in order to donate their unwanted and unused

goods, we see this when society sorts through and donates their unwanted paper, plastic and

metal, and even in some cases drive somewhere to donate or pay to have the items recycled.

The world is battling a wicked problem of hunger. We often think that the problem cannot

be helped or often is beyond of reach, when in fact the solution is easier and closer than society

realizes. The answer is in the trash, all of that wasted food can be feed out to cattle and other

ruminants livestock, that physically cannot eat the food that we waste, and do not have the food

standards that humans have. The outcomes first and foremost beef and milk. These products can

then sold in order to pay employees that are given employment throughout the process. The

remaining meat and milk and given or sold at low cost, to the hungry and malnourished

populations all of the word. The only thing holding back or stopping world hunger to be solved,

or cut down, and feeding the projected nine billion in 2050, is you and your trash, and a little

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Works Cited

"Artisan 100% Whole Wheat Bread." Braum's. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2017.
"Bread Waste Is off the Scale." Toast Ale. N.p., 16 Apr. 2017. Web. 28 Apr. 2017.
Zimmcomm. "The Milk Gap Jeff Simmons, Elanco." YouTube. YouTube, 20 Oct. 2013.
Web. 28 Apr. 2017.
Gunders Natural Resources Defense Council, Dana. "Wasted: How America Is Losing Up
to 40 Percent of Its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill." Wasted: How America Is Losing Up to
40 NRDC (2012): n. pag. Web.
"Norman Borlaug." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 25 Apr. 2017. Web. 28 Apr. 2017.

"Nutrebeef Grower/Finisher Feed." NutreBeef Grower Finisher Feed | Nutrena. N.p., n.d.
Web. 28 Apr. 2017.
Unit 3 | How Many Is Enough? "Earth: The Apple of Our Eye." COUNTING (n.d.): 3-4.

Web. 28 Apr. 2017.

"Unit 5: Human Population Dynamics // Section 4: World Population Growth Through

History." Annenberg Learner. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2017.

University, Colorado State, and Cooperative Extension And Department Of Animal

Science.Feeding Market Beef (n.d.): n. pag. Web.

"U.S. and World Population Clock Tell Us What You Think." Population Clock. N.p., n.d.

Web. 28 Apr. 2017.