I follow a pretty interesting food blogger who calls herself cityhippyfarmgirl, and recently she posted a YouTube link to a TED Talk by Tristram Stuart about global food waste. I took her advice and plopped myself down for fifteen minutes to watch the video, and now I feel the need to pimp it out on my own blog.
While I think the whole farm-to-table movement is
a lot a bit of a gimmick, and I could never give up eating meat with some potatoes drowned in butter in favor of a raw diet and juice cleanses, I have become pretty passionate about knowing where my food is coming from and where it’s going. This was essentially the topic of Stuart’s TED Talk, and I learned so much about the global food waste problem during his fifteen minute talk.
Like most people, when I think of food waste, I think of food that’s left on a plate or that goes bad before I have a chance to eat it, but it’s so much more complicated than that. Potatoes, lettuces, and other produce are often just thrown away for aesthetic reasons, a topic that I knew a little about after reading Michael Pollan’s The Botany of Desire. However, reading about it as part of a course at Temple and seeing pictures of hundreds of pounds of wasted produce are two different things. Who cares if a potato isn’t the right color or has spots? The only reason why consumers supposedly won’t buy these goods is because they’ve been conditioned not to. People eat hearts and kidneys and brains because they taste good and are nutritious, not because they’re really pretty.
Another part of his talk that I found compelling was his discussion on how we waste tons of produce because we don’t properly know how to keep it fresh and healthy. Stuart demonstrates this particularly well with a shot of romaine and the different ways to keep it in a home, from just sticking it in the fridge to treating it like a plant. Although I don’t know why anyone would want to extend the shelf life of romaine, it was a pretty impressive element of his discussion nonetheless.
Stuart’s points are more layered than anything that I’ll talk about on the blog, but if any aspects of this issue that I brought up in this post caught your attention, than watch the link below and be prepared to soak up a lot of research and information on this topic. When you have fifteen minutes of free time, I would definitely recommend sitting down and experiencing Stuart’s TED Talk on food waste. It’s not just the U.S. and the U.K. that are wasting huge amounts of food; it’s a global problem, one that a fifteen minute video can only just start to scratch the surface of.