Food waste. It’s a big topic everywhere these days. From my school lunchroom where we’re constantly trying to reduce the amount of food waste to projects from big name chefs like Massimo Bottura who, during Expo Milano in 2015 transformed an abandoned theatre in the Greco neighborhood of Milan into a soup kitchen with the goal of feeding and educating the homeless and poor, using more than 15 tons of salvaged food, it’s a topic that seems to be getting a lot of (deserved) airtime these days.
But how much do you actually know about what happens to the food we don’t eat? And what about the food that isn’t disposed of properly (i.e. that goes to landfill)? Did you know, for example that it takes 25 years for a head of lettuce to decompose if it’s disposed on in landfill? TWENTY FIVE YEARS? I know, right? And did you realise that 90% of the food we waste ends up in landfill? It’s a sobering thought, right?
I recently had the chance to preview WASTED! The Story of Food Waste which screened at the Planet in Focus film festival last weekend which gave me much food for thought (no pun intended) about the food we consume… and waste.
WASTED! The Story of Food Waste aims to change the way people buy, cook, recycle, and eat food. Through the the eyes of chef-heroes like Bourdain, Dan Barber, Mario Batali, Massimo Bottura, and Danny Bowien, audiences will see how the world’s most influential chefs make the most of every kind of food, transforming what most people consider scraps into incredible dishes that create a more secure food system. 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.
But far from being a documentary about the doom and gloom of the world we live in, I actually found the takeaway message very inspiring. Food waste is actually one of the big problems in the world today this has many potential solutions – that we can all be a part of. It’s not just big-name chefs who are able to effect change in this area of concern for our planet – the documentary highlights both individuals and smaller organisations who are working to find sustainable solutions to the issue of food waste – reducing food waste overall (think more “nose to tail” type eating in terms of produce – eating all parts of the plant), using food waste (scraps) in innovative ways (fancy a Toast Ale – beer made with surplus bread?) so as to stop (more) environmental damage and feed more people (not to mention creating more jobs).
Disclosure: I was given advance access to WASTED! from the folks at Planet in Focus. I was not asked to write about the film and am not being compensated for doing so. All opinions 100% my own.