FLORENCE COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — April 4 through 8 marked South Carolina’s first Food Waste Prevention Week.

Two organizations recognized the occasion by teaching a class aimed at keeping vegetables out of landfills.

Representatives from the Clemson Cooperative Extension and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Don’t Waste Food SC campaign spent Friday afternoon at the Pee Dee State Farmers Market, where they taught attendees how to make jars of pickled vegetables.

“The great thing about quick pickles or refrigerator pickles is you can be creative,” said Chase Baillie, food safety and nutrition area agent with the Clemson Cooperative Extension. “You can use any spice blend you like.”

Participants learned every step of the pickling process, from selecting spices to making brine. Baillie said the process is deceptively simple and most people already own the necessary ingredients.

“Just produce, vinegar, salt, sugar and a container,” she said.

Brooke Vu, Miss Myrtle Beach 2022 and a Don’t Waste Food SC ambassador took part in the program, creating a jar of her own and promoting sustainability to participants.

“We throw away more food than anything else,” said Adah Gorton, the project lead for Don’t Waste Food SC. “It’s the number one thing that we throw away but at the same time, we have a lot of folks who are food insecure.”

Gorton said in South Carolina, one in nine people are food insecure but more than 1,000,000 tons of food went to landfills in 2021.

“While we have food and it’s cheap and easy, some people don’t,” she said. “It’s a shame to throw it in a landfill.”

She said the first Food Waste Prevention Week was a busy one, with events across the state aimed at raising awareness.

“It’s been amazing,” Gorton said. “We have people having those conversations about how to prevent wasted food and how to feed hungry people instead of throwing food away.”

Gorton suggested carefully planning meals and keeping close track of the food you already own before grocery shopping as two easy ways to reduce food waste. She said eating your food instead of throwing it out can also help reduce greenhouse gases.