Posted at 3:12 PM on May 12, 2008
by Sanden Totten
The food shortage is hitting close to home. Real close. Check out this story from Marketplace about the increase of traffic at St. Paul food shelves.
All of this has got me thinking about a story I did a while back on dumpster divers (right click to download). I still hang out with a lot of these same people and they are still foraging for food in the trash. In fact, one friend of mine gets the majority of his groceries from the garbage . . . everything from veggies and breads to easter candy and flower bouquets. He's doing fine. Trash cans are still more than full enough.
Of course not everyone has the time to go looking for free grub. And I'll be the first to admit, the idea of dumpstered food is not that appetizing for a lot of people. But my point is that there is a lot of free or wasted food in this city. Even with organizations like Sister's Camelot and Second Harvest trying to save some of this stuff, there's still almost 100 billion pounds of food being wasted every year in the U.S.
It would be great if there was more food in the world, but in the meantime, how can we get better about making use of the tons of food we are throwing out?! What's stopping us from getting it to the people who could actually use it?
I write a blog about wasted food in the US and the amount of edible waste out there never ceases to amaze me. And as large as the 'almost 100 billion pounds' figure sounds, it is an underestimate. That figure is more than 10 years old, so there's certainly more food waste as our population and food yields have grown.
Also, a government-funded group in the UK just released this really detailed study on food waste. The summary is definitely worth reading. And if you have some time to fill, check out the the entire 200+ page report.
Thanks for turning us on to your blog, Jonathan. Maybe we should interview you for the show sometime, as we follow all the food-related news. This NYTimes chart (which you linked to in one of your recent posts) is amazing.