Food Waste in the Spotlight

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By, Jessica Beth Levine

A 2012 study by the NRDC estimates that a staggering 40% of food in the US goes to waste. Simultaneously, millions of households around the country are food-insecure. If these numbers feel outrageous to you, you’re not alone.

Food waste has been a topic of moderate interest in the US for decades. Organizations around the country have quietly (and not so quietly) worked on this issue by attempting to change infrastructure, laws, and consumer purchasing habits.

Now, America has taken a cue from England and France and thrown a spotlight onto food waste. From restaurants to movies, the America public is catching on to the deplorable amount of waste created all along the supply chain.

Some recent eye-catching projects drawing attention to food waste include:

  • WastED, a pop-up restaurant devoted to food waste and re-use, which operated for three weeks this past spring. The brainchild of Chef Dan Barber (author of the inspiring book, The Third Plate) at Blue Hill restaurant in New York.
  • American Wasteland, by Jonathan Bloom, which investigates food waste throughout the food supply chain.
  • Just Eat It, a new documentary on food waste and rescue by Grant Baldwin and Jen Rustemeyer.
  • The hilariously excellent @UglyFruitAndVeg Twitter account promoting less than beautiful produce.
  • The very recent “Last Week Tonight” segment in which John Oliver spends 17 minutes slamming food waste.

With this new awareness in mainstream America, the time is ripe to take action and reduce food waste. Even bringing our waste down by a small percentage will have a significant effect on the overall system. Keep an eye on this topic; it’s going to be a game changer.


Jessica Beth Levine blogs at about navigating food choices in Southern California with a focus on environmentally friendly, just, and sustainable food.

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