Surplus is usually defined as what’s left over when the demand, or need, of a population has been met. However, in the context of the food system, this definition leaves us with more leftovers than answers. What might be referred to as surplus food faces a core contradiction: while approximately 35% of the food we produce goes to waste, about 50 million people in the U.S. are experiencing food insecurity. This number has increased from previous years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which begs the question – is it possible to have a food surplus when the need for nourishment is only going up?

This week, we rethink the meaning of surplus. We start off with a lesson on embracing the food sharing economy. Then, we walk through the process of upcycling leftover grain from breweries into crackers and learn about eliminating surplus in dairy production as a response to Covid-19. Last but not least, we look at an example of closed-loop manufacturing that turns surplus waste into a common household product. 

Further Reading and Listening:

For more on the sharing economy, check out Michael Carolan’s book The Food Sharing Revolution: How Start-Ups, Pop-Ups, and Co-ops are Changing the Way We Eat.

Need a new addition to your charcuterie board? Check out Brewer’s Crackers.

Feast Yr Ears: This episode featured “Episode 131: The Food Sharing Revolution.” Subscribe to Feast Yr Ears wherever you get your podcasts. (Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Spotify RSS).

Cutting the Curd: This episode featured “Episode 442: Upcycled Inspiration: A Conversation with Kyle Fiasconaro of Brewers Crackers.” Subscribe to Cutting the Curd wherever you get your podcasts (Apple Podcasts | Stitcher Spotify RSS).

Eating Matters: This episode featured “Episode 155: Closing the Loop on Food Waste.” Subscribe to Eating Matters wherever you get your podcasts. (Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Spotify RSS).

What Doesn’t Kill You: This episode featured “Episode 329: Rebuilding Dairy in Pennsylvania” Subscribe to What Doesn’t Kill You wherever you get your podcasts.  (Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | SpotifyRSS)


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