Is food waste, in the eye of the beholder?

The beauty hidden in food waste

Food waste

When was the last time you went out to dinner and opted not to get a doggie bag? Does it happen often or when you’re just too stuffed to consider taking another bite? Regardless of the situation, food waste is increasing, especially here in America where the term “supersize” got its birth.

American consumerism is not going away. History teaches that the seeds of American consumerism were planted in the 1800s and the Industrial Revolution. And there are many weeds that have choked efforts to reverse or reduce the gluttons we have all become. Especially when it comes to food waste.


The good, the bad and the beauty hidden in food waste


According to an eye opening article half of all US food produce is thrown away. The article goes beyond the dinner plate and explains the “cult of perfection” that Americans are demanding for their produce. In other words if it has a blemish or imperfection it’s rejected. Which prompts the question: “isn’t beauty in the eye of the beholder?”

Where and when did this happen? Much to my chagrin I am still looking for the answer. The silver lining is that food waste is in the spotlight. Or should I say the silver screen.

On October 13, the highly anticipated documentary WASTED! The Story of Food Waste arrives in theaters. Executive Producer Anthony Bourdain’s film aims to change the way people buy, cook, recycle, and eat food.  WASTED! exposes the criminality of food waste and how it’s directly contributing to climate change and shows us how each of us can make small changes – all of them delicious – to solve one of the greatest problems of the 21st Century.

Last month Food Tank hosted a remarkable one-day summit at the WNYC Greene Space in New York titled “Focusing on Food Loss and Waste.” In partnership with Rethink Food Waste Through Economics and Data (ReFED) and with support from The Rockefeller Foundation and The Fink Family Foundation the summit included experts from all over the world. All to address the problem of food waste. You can watch it here.

As I watched live on Facebook, I felt burdened to the fact—how did we as a society arrive at this point? I pondered, and still do, over the statistics that 72 billion pounds of food ends up in a landfill every year.

Yesterday as my son ate his banana he fussed about the brown spot on the banana. Luckily as he finished the entire banana I was there to remind him—”those are the banana’s beauty marks.”




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