Just Eat It is an excellent documentary, the premise: two Canadians on a food rescue mission.
Filmmakers and food lovers Jen and Grant dive into the issue of waste from farm, through retail, all the way to the back of their own fridge. They pledge to quit grocery shopping cold turkey and survive only on foods that would otherwise be thrown away. In a nation where one in 10 people is food insecure, the images they capture of squandered groceries are both shocking and strangely compelling.
|Bottom right photo Minnesotan Curt Sullivan|
See above for examples of squandering. See below for some of the unexpected consequences.
I won't give out any spoilers, because we think you should really watch this movie. Instead here are some food waste facts for our state (Minnesota, baby!!). Wish us luck (who knows what you might read next).
|Stuffed Meatloaf on a Stick: Coming This Fall!|
- A recent study found that the single most common material generated by schools was food waste—23.9% of the total waste generated. Furthermore an organics composting program could manage 50% of all waste. True garbage is only 15% of what schools are throwing away.
- While 35% of our waste goes to landfills producing dangerous substances like methane and leachate (contaminating air and drinking water) 41% gets recycled (p.s. 41% is greater than 35%. yay MN)! Of course there's definitely room for improvement because more than 80% of household waste can actually be recycled. Lucky for us in Minnesota we kick ass when it comes to implementing programs for street side pickup of organic waste. In fact we rank third for number of communities with food waste collection, behind California and Washington (CONFESSION: Josey was born in California and lived in Washington for 15 years - it's like this wave of environmentalism is following her?!?!).
focus.There are plenty of good options, that we can all implement, to help minimize food waste and to keep good, edible food from going to waste.
- Check out local food shelfs like Second Harvest Heartland or Emergency Food Shelf. They will take your bulk items. Or how about 360 Communities, they take donated food items and glean day old bread from Cub.
- Start your own compost. There are tons of DIY ideas from the simple to the complex, the cheap to the high-tech-fancy-pants-remember-this-is-for-food-waste options. Getting started is usually the hardest part! (CONFESSION: I am a bit obsessed with anaerobic composting. SO much so that next week's post will be entirely devoted to keeping your waste out of landfills and in your own backyard!)
- Support local businesses that allow for flexible portion sizes - that is, self-serve. Think of Chilly Billy or Whole Foods pay-by-the-weight bars. Researchers at the University of Minnesota found that flexible portion sizes can reduce wast by 29%, reduce meat waste by 87% and customers leave a lot more satisfied. And who doesn't want to leave Chilly Billy satisfied?
- In a recent survey of Minnesotans, 43% indicated they brought their own bag on at least one of their last five shopping trips. In the Twin Cities metro area, 50% of people have brought their own bag at least one time, while in the southern part of the state, only 20% have brought their own bag. So bring your own belly-scratchin' reusable bag to the grocery store!
every. single. time.
- Challenge your grocery stores to sell ugly fruit! But first check out Silly, Saucy, Scary. Stores can sell these mangled marvels at a 30% discount but the point is force them to sell it! Hungry for more of this? Watch the damn video below! Josey cried a little (CONFESSION: it was nothing compared to her full-body-heaving-breakdown while watching Just Eat It. Please, for her sake at least, just eat it.)
And let's not forget the programs that Minnesota already has in place:
- St. Paul Public Elementary schools participates in a food recycling program that sends food waste to pig farms; they repurposed over 2 million pounds of food waste in the 2010-2011 school year.
- Check out Café Latte's waste reduction success, they reduced their trash volume by 50% by using commercial composting.
- Cub Foods and Seward Co-op donate to 360 Communities Food Shelf; Target, Lunds & Byerlys, Cub, General Mills, Whole Foods etc. are food donors to Second Harvest.
- MSP Airport produces 10 tons a month of organic recycling including food waste and things like paper napkins; that's a 50% reduction in waste! Then they use the soil they make to upkeep the grounds. genius.
- The MN State Fair produces nearly 40 tons of food waste, which is turned into nutrient-rich soil, during its 12 day run and 1.8 million attendance
- And just in case you weren't feeling proud to be a Minnesotan quite yet, we shall now reveal the Mall of America's valiant green initiatives:
- By converting parking garage lighting to LED technology MOA reduced electrical consumption by 7 million KWH annually
- Wind powers two parking ramps and the Nickelodeon Universe
- More than 60% of MOA waste is recycled; thats an average of 32,000 tons per year OR more than 18,000 cars in a landfill.
- More than 2,400 tons of food waste is sent to a local hog farm feeding more than 1 million hog meals annually
- More than 4,000 pounds of biodiesel is produced per month by converting fat from restaurant fryers. That's enough to fuel a 53-foot semi truck from New York to Los Angeles five flippin' times
- More then 100 tons of glass bottles are recycled each year - yup, that powers 3.5 homes running electricity 8 hours a day for 1 year.
- MOA DOES NOT USE CENTRAL HEATING. I know this one is almost unbelievable. If you've never been to the Mall of America let me tell you, the temperature inside is never on your list of complaints, even when it's below zero outside. Inside the comfortable 70 degrees is maintained year-round by passive solar energy and heat from the store fixtures. We are so impressed.
We pledge to search out the ugly fruit, use reusable bags every time at the store AND stop wasting food.
We'll be weighing any food we waste (so far we're scared to be the first one to throw something out - success?) and we will keep you updated! Wish us luck! (It worked well the first time so you must be some kind of wish granting gurus)
We know you want to watch this documentary, like you are dying to see it. Have no fear! August 1st it will be playing on MSNBC at 5pm EST. Mark your calendars and get enlightened!
Brian and Josey