Food Waste Contributes to Global Warming?
According to the United Nations, approximately 9.31 billion tons of food go to waste globally every year, with one-third of that being clean and edible food. This wastage amounts to a staggering 1.3 billion metric tons, consuming 1.4 billion hectares of land. Most of the discarded food worldwide ends up in landfills, where its decomposition generates roughly one-tenth of the world’s global-warming gasses, surpassing emissions from all transportation combined. If global food waste were a nation, it would rank as the third-largest greenhouse gas emitter, following only China and the United States. Every stage of the food production, transportation, processing, cooking, and disposal process demands significant energy.Despite this colossal waste, nearly 29.6% of the world’s population, equivalent to 2.4 billion people, still cannot access a consistent food supply.
“Food Sharing Fridges” Transforming Taiwan’s Food Waste Situation
Over the past three decades, Taiwan has witnessed a rapid economic boom, and with it, there has been an increased demand for a higher quality of life and a wider variety of food. However, this has led Taiwan to become the second-largest food waste in Asia, trailing only China. Taiwan squanders a staggering average of 3.84 million tons of food annually, enough to stack wasted kitchen leftovers in a manner equivalent to “13,500 Taipei 101 skyscrapers.”
In response to this escalating food waste crisis, an increasing number of people are acknowledging the problem and addressing it. One such initiative, the “Food Sharing Fridge,” founded by Chief Fang Ho-sheng, has seen great success in the South Airport community. Residents place surplus food into the fridge, which is then made available for those in need. This endeavor not only aids in reducing food waste but also assists those who require it.
Chief Fang’s initial goal was to support school-age children in the community so that their family’s circumstances would not impact their education. He also aimed to train more young individuals within the community to acquire essential life skills and help the elderly and vulnerable families resolve their life challenges, thereby enabling the entire South Airport community to flourish like other neighborhoods in Taipei. Later, he recognized the problem of food waste by many businesses and the daily struggle of people to have nutritious meals, prompting the establishment of food banks and the “Food Sharing Fridge.”
Fang Ho-sheng’s Philanthropic Endeavors: Founding the “Food Sharing Fridge” for Underprivileged Communities
Fang Ho-sheng, serving as the Chief of Zhongqin Neighborhood for 24 years, is not just concerned with his own community but also the broader issues of Taiwan. Every day at 1:30 PM, he delivers meals to Taipei Main Station, where many homeless people gather, aiding more individuals in need. His philanthropic efforts extend far beyond his neighborhood, encompassing multiple locations to cater to a larger number of impoverished people.
The Chief’s mission goes beyond providing food; it includes assisting individuals who may have strayed off the right path, offering them an opportunity to rejoin the workforce. His selfless dedication and care for deprived communities have earned him the title of Taiwan’s “Strongest Neighborhood Chief,” serving as an outstanding example for other community leaders.
Due to the early loss of his mother and the lack of a caregiver for his five siblings, neighbors and elders gave a helping hand during the most challenging times. His father, characterized by his generosity, always purchased oranges in bulk because he didn’t just want to provide for his own children but for the neighborhood kids as well. This sense of gratitude led Fang Ho-sheng down the path of community service.
The “Food Sharing Fridge” initiative created by Fang not only tackles the issue of food waste but also provides a platform for sharing food in the South Airport community and some other communities, helping financially strained families. His work also extends to assisting the elderly in seeking medical care, providing health information, and delivering food and supplies during times of crisis, benefiting the entire city of Taipei.
During the pandemic, he not only delivered meals to needful residents in Wanhua District but also aided social welfare organizations in providing water to the homeless. The Taiwan Food Banks Association’s resource system exhibited remarkable flexibility and rapid response, offering material support to Wanhua District and other areas during the pandemic.
Fang Ho-sheng’s story is one of inspiration and hope, demonstrating that one person’s selflessness and love for their community can change not only the entire neighborhood but also the whole nation. He is Taiwan’s “Strongest Neighborhood Chief” and a model for community leaders worldwide.
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