The arrival on a screen close to you (motion picture cinema, Apple TV, YouTube on your ‘phone, whatever), of “Wasted! The Story of Food Waste“, on October 13th is an event that I’m really looking forward to. Albeit it’s one that is heavily tinged with — for me anyway — a large dose of melancholy, as it was one of the last things produced by the late, great, Mr Anthony Bourdain. He’s been much mentioned hereabouts in lots of earlier pieces.
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, the single most common item in municipal landfills in America is discarded food; food that’s not only stupidly dumped by you & I, the consumer, but as well by farmers and suppliers. And so much of this waste occurs upstream in the farm-to-fork pipeline that farmers are sacrificing what is estimated to be around 10 million tons of food before it ever gets shipped out to the shops where we then take it off the shelves. This detail comes from an excellent 2016 report by “Rethink Food Waste”.ReFED_Report_2016
Part of the problem is that American consumers — just like those over here — are accustomed to cosmetically flawless produce in shapes and varieties of familiar looking food that they therefore feel comfortable being able to cook.
As examples: fish cheeks — a major delicacy in Asian & Scandinavian food cultures — are binned because a skinned, trimmed piece of fish in easy to manage & handle fillets is more desirable. Beet bulbs and other root vegetables are much simpler to store with stems & leaves removed. Carrots are whittled into bite-sized nubbins, de-greened, and then sealed in plastic bags, removing any trace of their original roots in the earth (sorry about that one).
I saw an equally apposite quote from a butcher today:
“If everyone just eats filet mignon, how many cows do we have to go through?” Adam Danforth
And I’ve ranted before on many occasions about stopping waste. Just hit that Search button up on the top right-hand side of the site to get more background. Recent posts have strayed away from pigs I know, but they don’t exist in a vacuum; everything about our food, its supply chain, the soil, the food-chain, the environment, needs to be looked at. In the round. John Donne’s famous quote could equally have been applied to food; it certainly talks about soil!
The next few pieces I’m writing will speak to soil. And maybe eels. They’ll be on the Salute The Grains site. And Salute The Fish. So, click on the newsletter sign-up links for both of them to get the newest pearls of wisdom dropping into your in-box as well 🙂