I’m not sure how much free time the Pope gets to surf the web, but I’m thinking that Pope Francis would be a big fan of MNN if he got a chance to poke around this news network. In his inauguration homily last March, he proved himself to be a treehugger when he said we need to protect the environment.

Now, he’s tackling the issue of food waste. Yesterday, he said that throwing away good food is like stealing from the poor. Can I get an Amen?

In a world where 870 million people are affected by hunger, the Pope remarked that our “culture of waste” is “especially deplorable.”  Can I get another an Amen?

He also “warned that too much focus on money and materialism meant financial market dips were viewed as tragedies while human suffering had become normal and ignored.” Come on. Give me an Amen!

Preach it, Pope Francis.

Traditional media loves to focus on Christians, or rather the Christian political right that somehow gets equated with all Christians, and make it sound as if Christians as a whole are mean-spirited, money-loving, selfish, haters of the poor who only care about people if they’re unborn or have enough money to take care of themselves. We are not all like that. So many of us are not like that.

I love seeing someone so prominent in Christianity talking truth like this. The food that gets wasted is deplorable. The money and the resources that literally get thrown away when food gets wasted could be going toward finding ways to get food to those that need it.

Of course, it’s not as easy as packaging up what’s left on your dinner plate and sending it to a starving child in Africa. Dramatically curbing food waste and channeling those resources to the hungry is going to take concerted efforts by both governments and individuals.

I’m excited to say that I see those concerted efforts happening.

They’re happening when the USDA announces, like it did earlier this week, that it’s issuing the U.S. Food Waste Challenge, and part of that challenge will focus on recovering wholesome food for human consumption.

They’re happening when activists like Danielle Nierenberg and Ellen Gustafson create Food Tank: The Food Think Tank to bring together farmers, businesses, workers, nonprofits, local activists, academics, policymakers, industry, journalists, community organizations, and anyone who wants to be involved with fixing what’s wrong with our food system, including alleviating hunger.

And, they’re happening when an innovator like Kavita Shukla sees a need to keep produce fresher longer so it can reach those who are hungry and creates a product like Fenugreen FreshPaper, a totally natural, organic piece of paper that inhibits bacterial and fungal growth on fresh fruits and vegetables.

It’s encouraging when someone as influential as Pope Francis brings to light the issue of food waste. It’s even more encouraging when he does it at a time when the pieces are being put in place by governments, organizations and individuals to actually do something about helping the hungry by curbing that waste.

If you agree, give me an Amen.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Pope says culture of food waste is like stealing from the poor
The head of the Catholic Church compares throwing away food with stealing from the poor. His message comes at the right time.