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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Dumpster Diving To Fight Hunger, Waste

How much food do you throw out? As a country, we waste 96 billion pounds a year and according to filmmaker Jeremy Seifert, you’d need a train long enough to go from Los Angeles to New York City and back again to hold it all.

Seifert learned about food waste when he started scavenging in dumpsters behind grocery stores and found what he thought was perfectly edible food– everything from fresh, organic blueberries, to imported German cheese. He started eating the food and feeding his family with it– even his pregnant wife.

Food Safety

Seifert told Here & Now‘s Robin Young that he never had any fears about feeding his children and pregnant wife with the dumpster food. He learned to trust his nose, and only take meat that was cold, and thus, recently refrigerated.

DIVE! The Documentary

Seifert made a documentary about his dumpster diving, called “DIVE: Living Off America’s Food Waste,” and in it he calls on others to join his movement “to end food waste.”

Seifert petitioned grocery stores like Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Vons to donate more food waste to shelters or pantries. Some individual stores were donating, but  entire chains had not committed- a step that Seifert is still advocating.

Should Others Dumpster Dive?

Seifert says that dumpster diving gave him a new perspective on food waste, but he is not necessarily calling on others to do it.

“I want dumpsters to be empty and stomachs to be filled. I’m not advocating dumpster diving… There’s a broken system and we need to change something at a fundamental, systemic level,” he said.

Guest:

  • Jeremy Seifert, director of the film “DIVE! Living Off America’s Waste”

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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