Thousands of people ate a free feast in downtown Los Angeles on May 4. All of the food that was served was rescued on its way to the dumpster.
Dominika Jarosc is head of Programs at London-based nonprofit Feedback, which organized the event.
“I think 10 years ago, people thought of food waste as bin diving,” she said. “Now they recognize that we’re talking about perfectly fresh delicious food that is wasted on farms.”
Three groups cooperated to serve nearly a ton of traditional Mexican ‘pozole’ stew to thousands of Angelenos.
Alma Backyard Farms and Food Forward provided the ingredients, trimmings from farm crops and leftovers from wholesale markets.
Volunteers from L.A. Kitchen, a nonprofit cooking school that helps train the underprivileged and also many ex-convicts to be chefs, did all the preparation at a huge cooking party, where a DJ kept the crowd lively.
The United States is just becoming aware of the enormity of food waste.
“It’s one of the main environmental issues in the world today and the great thing about it is that it’s one which has a delicious solution,” said Feedback’s Dominika Jarosc. “We can eat our way out of this problem.”
A lot of supermarkets discard perfectly edible food, saying consumers won’t buy anything that doesn’t look perfect.
Jarosc disagrees, “I think blaming consumers is an easy way out for supermarkets, saying, ‘Oh consumers don’t want it’. They do. There’s a growing worldwide movement and a growing U.S. movement against food waste and consumers are demanding ugly fruits and vegetables in stores. They want to know what companies are doing to lead the effort.”
Jarosc called on consumers and retailers to commit to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Agency’s goal, established in 2015, to reduce food loss and waste by half by the year 2030.