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France figured out how to make its grocery stores feed even more people.

It's a first for Europe — and a smart example for the rest of the world.

France figured out how to make its grocery stores feed even more people.

What happens to the apples that no one buys at the grocery store?

You've been there: looking at apples (or other produce) and examining what's in front of you before deciding on "the one." The first apple you grabbed wasn't ripe enough, and the second one had a weird shape. The third was too mushy. But that last one? It was perfect. Into the cart and on you go.

But what happens to the apples and the other food you didn't buy — and no one else did either? Too often, that perfectly good, unsold food ends up in the trash.


That'll soon be changing in France.

All of the apples by Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images.

France just passed a bipartisan bill that bans grocery stores from throwing out unsold food.

Instead of discarding food items that are approaching their sell-by date, French supermarkets will be required to donate the food to charities or to turn it into animal feed or compost.

On the heels of the Paris climate change agreement, France is hoping to find a solution that helps the hungry while also helping the environment.


Image by Francois Nascimbeni/Getty Images.

Many families in the world struggle to find food to eat. France is said to throw away almost 8 million tons of food every year, and grocery stores are a big contributor. Between people being picky about the aesthetics of their food, overstocked shelves at the store, and sell-by dates that don't actually mean that much, there is room to explore how to keep more food in tummies and less in the landfill.

"Today, when a supermarket like Carrefour finds even a tiny fault with a crate of its branded yogurts, it sends the whole batch back to the dairy producer, which is legally obliged to destroy the lot even if it is all of excellent quality," Guillaume Garot, one of the legislators who framed the law, told the Telegraph.

Photo by Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images.

The law, which passed on Dec. 10, 2015, will make it possible for charities to have access to more edible food, like crates of yogurts, that would otherwise be destroyed. It'll target stores with retail space of over 4,300 square feet (so ... big ones) and is expected to go into effect once the Senate votes on it in early 2016.

The initiative won't just feed people. It'll also make the environment happier.

According to the United Nations, if wasted food became its own country, it would be the #3 contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the entire world. That's pretty wild when you think about it. Throwing away leftovers or seeing food in a grocery store's dumpster doesn't seem like that big of a deal until you see what it's doing on a global scale.

The United States should take note: We waste enough food to fill a 90,000-seat football stadium every single day.

Enough to fill the Rose Bowl stadium in Pasadena, California ... every day. Photo by Ken Levine/Getty Images.

Yes, just let your head wrap around that for a second.

We're throwing away more than one-third of all the food that's produced in the country every year. Consumers do play the biggest part in that food waste, but grocery stores are responsible for throwing away 10% of it. We're using as many tricks as possible to reduce the waste, but there's more that can be done.

France is setting a strong example of legislators from both sides of the aisle working together to solve some of the biggest issues of our time.

It's easy to think of many world issues as separate, but that's not always the case. The connections between hunger, poverty, food waste, and climate change show that simple solutions can be found all over — even in an apple bin.

True

When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

4-year-old New Zealand boy and police share toys.

Sometimes the adorableness of small children is almost too much to take.

According to the New Zealand Police, a 4-year-old called the country's emergency number to report that he had some toys for them—and that's only the first cute thing to happen in this story.

After calling 111 (the New Zealand equivalent to 911), the preschooler told the "police lady" who answered the call that he had some toys for her. "Come over and see them!" he said to her.

The dispatcher asked where he was, and then the boy's father picked up. He explained that the kids' mother was sick and the boy had made the call while he was attending to the other child. After confirming that there was no emergency—all in a remarkably calm exchange—the call was ended. The whole exchange was so sweet and innocent.

But then it went to another level of wholesome. The dispatcher put out a call to the police units asking if anyone was available to go look at the 4-year-old's toys. And an officer responded in the affirmative as if this were a totally normal occurrence.

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