• Posted by Califia Suntree on July 12th, 2011, 10:12 AM

    It will come as news to no one that we Americans are a wasteful bunch. Research has shown that we throw out about 14% of the food we buy, and, due to supply-chain issues, about half of the food harvested never makes it to our tables. In all, says this excellent and thorough article on dumpster diving (the PC term is “freeganism”), “the United States generates 34 million tons, or 68 billion pounds, of food waste each year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.” Obviously, a few tatty twentysomethings aren’t going to eat their way through this problem, but the article, by Arvin Temkar and published on Grist.org, is a fascinating portrait of some New Yorkers who subsist on what we throw out. (I would add the important work of City Harvest to this discussion, which “rescues” food from restaurants and farmers markets, and helps deliver it to New York’s 1.5 million hungry. They manage to keep thousands of tons of edible food out of the trash in the first place.) The freegans are admittedly at the fringes, but their approach does shine a light on an issue that is normally encased in black plastic, hidden from view. And you have to be impressed by anyone who can live in New York City for $800 a month.

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