Did you know that nationwide, the amount of food wasted each day would fill the Rose Bowl? Forty percent of the food we produce is going to waste, while 49 million Americans face food insecurity every day. We have a logistics problem.
This week I was excited to participate in Feeding the 5000 – Austin. The event was created to raise awareness of food waste and provide a creative and delicious free meal using food otherwise destined for the landfill. Hosted by the Central Texas Food Bank, Keep Austin Fed, New Leaders Council-Austin and Austin Resource Recovery, the event took place the week of World Food Day, in celebration of the huge potential to aid global hunger through improvements to our food system.
Chefs from The Bonneville and volunteers worked hard for days to prep donated ingredients including butternut squash and sweet potatoes left over from the veggie noodle-making process, pasta scraps cut away in the ravioli-making, surplus bread from a sandwich chain, chicken from a charter school, and more.
State employees, homeless folks, tourists and interested parties all shared a lovely meal of chicken “a la King” or vegetarian pasta with a beet sauce on the lawn of the Texas State Capitol on a beautiful fall day.
If you’re interested in the topic of food waste, check out the organizations listed above as well as Feedback. I also highly recommend the new documentary, Wasted, by Anthony Bourdain. It’s a fascinating movie that explores many facets of the cycle—from using food scraps to feed livestock, to passing legislation about “sell by” dates, to rebranding things previously considered “trash” parts of plants and animals, to finding new ways to generate power using waste.
Food waste is a huge problem, but because food is something to which everyone can relate, it’s easier to understand our role in the cycle and to imagine ourselves, our companies, our schools or our governments as part of the solution.