Tackling food waste is delicious

In the U.S., 40% of the food we produce is never eaten.

In the U.S., 40% of the food we produce is never eaten.

Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain has just released a documentary called “Wasted! The Story of Food Waste,” which explores the driving global forces behind the food we waste. Most importantly, the film showcases basic ways that each of us can reduce our food waste, thereby lowering greenhouse gas emissions, saving money, and feeding the world’s hungry people.

Many documentaries about the current state of the world paint it as a hopeless, lost cause, leaving those of us in the audience feeling guilty about contributing to the problem - and maybe a little sorry we bothered to watch the film.

This documentary is different. While it includes the usual staggering facts about the amount of food wasted every year (in the U.S., more than 40% of the food we produce is never eaten), the film largely focuses on the solutions-based approaches that people around the world are taking to tackle the issue head-on.

Take a chef, for instance, which may be the reason Bourdain chose to anchor this movie. “[Chefs] take something that’s ugly and tough and transform it into something wonderful,” Bourdain says at one point during the film. A number of other people and communities also see food waste as an opportunity, and a handful of those ideas are highlighted in this film. Pig farmers in Japan are creating highly valued brand name pork by feeding their pigs food waste. An elementary school in New Orleans is championing school gardening and nutrition education for kids, including composting food waste from the lunchroom. In France it’s now illegal for grocery stores to throw away food.

“Wasted!” does a phenomenal job of demonstrating how each and every one of us can do our part to divert food waste from landfills. In the words of Bourdain, “Anyone can enjoy the smug satisfaction of doing the right thing. How often do you get to do that?”

“Wasted! The Story of Food Waste” is in theaters, on demand, and available to stream on Amazon and iTunes.