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Save Your Scraps | Thanksgiving

As Thanksgiving week approaches, more and more attention has been given to the upcoming feast. But what about the leftovers? Over at NPR in association with Harvest Public Media, a series on food waste sums up what many of us already know: we waste too much food. As much as 40% of all food is wasted, according to Harvest Public Media, who wrote:

Food waste is the single-largest source of waste in municipal landfills. An incredible 35 million tons of food were thrown away in 2012, according to the EPA. As it decomposes in landfills, the waste releases methane and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Meanwhile, 1 in 6 Americans struggles with hunger and the world wonders how to address the challenge of feeding 9 billion people by 2050.

Many of those struggling with food security are the people who picked our nation’s food in the first place. Of the estimated three million migrant farmworkers in the US, about 750,000 of them live below the poverty line, according to the National Agricultural Workers survey, sponsored by the US Department of Labor. But food is not the only inaccessible necessity. With that level of poverty -- plus job insecurity, language and cultural barriers, and rural job sites -- farmworkers are often left with insufficient access to health care. MCN works hard throughout the year to assist mobile patients like migrant farmworkers with gaining access to quality and culturally-appropriate health care.

So, when you visit your local grocery store or farmers’ market to pick up the turkey, the vegetables and the fruit for your upcoming family feast, please remember the many lives behind those purchases. And, when assembling your fourth cold turkey and cranberry sauce sandwich on Sunday, remember to be thankful for what we have -- and don’t forget to compost those sweet potato scraps.