Dumpster Diving??

27 09 2011

“Eat all your vegetables! There are children starving in Africa!” We’ve all heard those words before. When green, red, yellow organic substances (usually green) placed in front of us as little children, we stared at it with disgust as if it was our worst enemy. Or maybe for those of us who actually like consuming produce, those words were commanded of us when in our mother’s graciousness she over zealously placed too much food on our plate, possibly in the hopes that our growth spurt had not found its end the previous year. But as varied the reasons, the bottom line was “Don’t waste your food!”

Maybe it’s the effects of indoctrination of my childhood habits, but I definitely hate good food going to waste. I have had to actively train myself to not accept all leftovers from group events for the sake of my arteries and weight. And though I have learned to tether the concept of wasting food to ‘being healthy’, senseless hunger still remains at the top of my informal list of greatest injustices. Listening to the NPR program Here & Now while driving, I was fascinated to learn of a phenomenon (or movement) that began in recent years to combat American food wasting tendencies. Dumpster Diving has become a phenomenon for not just the homeless but the working poor and sometimes activists against food waste. Filmmaker Jeremy Seifert (creator of documentary: DIVE) is interviewed in this intriguing Here & Now segment as he speaks of how America wastes 96 billion pounds of (I’m assuming edible) food.

In the current economy, there are more stories of single parents, and even just middle class families, struggling to put food on the table. For those of us who have thought more about ‘what’ to eat for the next meal than ‘where’ or ‘if’ the next meal will come, it seems only just that we give it some more thought. That maybe our lifestyle is that of a wasteful one (Living itself causes waste by the second law of thermodynamics, but that is not the point of discussion). Of course, not that we as human beings are a waste of space (we are not) but does even our eating habits (grocery shopping habits, trashing habits) benefit those around us, or is that area of life reserved for pure selfishness and self-satisfaction? Enjoying food and the artistry in cuisines is a good thing and we should not stop engaging in such activities, but maybe the reason we blindside ourselves to this waste problem, maybe part of the issue is that this privilege has become more of a right to claim and less a gift for which to be thankful.

And since I know the modern man is more moved by pictures than words, here are some more visuals on Dumpster Diving from the NY Times slideshow.

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One response

27 09 2011
Rachel A. Hanson

Hmm, definitely interesting. I’ve also had a difficult time in not eating everything on my plate, even when I’m extremely full, because of that admonission from my parents.

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