In this season of repentance, the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (EAA) encourages us to reflect on the fact that more than one third of the food produced on this planet for human consumption - the daily bread for which we pray and with which we are graciously and abundantly gifted - is wasted; not through natural disasters, but through our own disgracefully negligent stewardship of this gift.
In developing countries, waste occurs mainly at the point of production - due to limitations in harvesting methods, preservation techniques, packaging and distribution systems - while in developed nations, waste results from inefficient processes in the supply chain and individual consumer behaviour.
We cannot be passive witnesses to the fact that 1.3 billion tons of food is squandered in this way annually, while 15 million children worldwide die of hunger each year. Or that the irrigation water used globally to grow food that is ultimately wasted would be enough for the domestic needs of 9 billion people. Or that 10% of rich countries' greenhouse gas emissions come from growing food that is never eaten.
At the feeding of the 5000, after all the people had had their fill from that inexhaustible supply, Jesus said to his followers, "Gather the pieces of fish and bread that were not eaten. Don't waste anything."