Photo credit: merveonur.wordpress.com
I really struggled with the title. As a marketer by trade, FOOD and WASTE as the name for our dinner event wasn’t exactly going to get the crowds knocking down our door (without some real explanation).
It all began with a National Geographic article. Truthfully, it usually it piles up in our house, but their series on the FUTURE OF FOOD was right up my alley. Exploring how ugly fruits and vegetables could help solve world hunger, it was the fascinating main narrative lead by the seemingly bad boy of curbing food waste Tristram Stuart, that made me pause.
A country like America has twice as much food on its shop shelves and in its restaurants than is actually required to feed the American people.
Tristram Stuart, Founder of Feedback, Photo credit: policyinnovators.com
Radical? I was looking for themes for my new Farm.Field.Sea. summer series GATHER to fill a niche in the island's summer programming. Something so fun and different that food lovers (of all kinds) would not only get intimate access to super interesting speakers discussing foods hottest, bold-faced topics, the evening would feature a hyper-local feast - a unique, creative, and entertaining pop-up dining experience like no other (if I do say so myself).
A Farm. Field. Sea. dinner/ Photo Credit: Gabriella Herman
And Food and Waste is a crazy popular subject right? Did you see what renowned chef Dan Barber did when he turned trash into tasty treasures at his dining pop up wastED or the Food Network's try at tackling the topic in its series “The Big Waste?”
To bring the food waste story closer to home, I started following the successes of grocery store innovator Doug Rauch founder of The Daily Table in Dorchester, MA. I have always been quite perplexed about food expiration dates (have you ever been to a grocery store 2nd world country? Ever noticed the American brands they sell are primarily past their due date?) and how so many on our island (and country I am sure) are priced out of access to wholesome foods. I also learned that New England is leading the way on food recovery implementing food waste bans that prohibit sending food waste to landfills. To tie this story to the island I invited our very own gleaning program Island Grown Gleaning to talk about how they work with local farms to rescue excess local veggies and meat for use in schools, food pantries and more - just by harnessing volunteer sweat equity.
On the island we have at least 20,000 pounds of potential crop waste each year, so the gleaners are working capture this quality produce and redirect it. In 2014, we rescued 24,000 pounds of produce and delivered it free of charge to more than 20 organizations." - Island Grown Gleaning
Photo cred: capeandtheislands.org
The bottom line is we can all agree - it just doesn’t make sense that’s there’s such an abundance of food and yet so many people are hungry. So, what can we do? Maybe the simplest way to start is to eat everything. Let’s set our default mode to eating the food we’ve got instead of quickly trashing it or buying more and lets celebrate how “ugly”, is truly beautiful.
For some great reads check out these articles:
Tristram Stuart, National Geographic
Doug Rauch, NPR
Island Grown School’s Noli Taylor, The Vineyard Gazette
ReFED committed to reducing food waste in the United States
Penned by the staff of Farm. Field. Sea. and inspired by the experiences of working with Martha's Vineyard's chefs, farmers, fisherman, oyster cultivators, artisan producers and food educators.