The Sciences

American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half Of Its Food (and what we can do about it)


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For Day 3 of Book Week, I'm skipping ahead to one I haven't finished yet, but am currently devouring... American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half Of Its Food (and what we can do about it) by Jonathan Bloom. I previously posted about this title after the New Scientist piece on food waste I co-wrote with Michael Webber sparked a good deal of interest around the web. (Food waste accounts for a whopping 2 percent of annual energy consumption in the U.S.!). Naturally I've been curious to read Bloom's perspective considering he's been pondering the problem since 2005:

What Tom Vanderbilt did for traffic and Brian Wansink did for mindless eating, Jonathan Bloom does for food waste. The topic couldn’t be timelier: As more people are going hungry while simultaneously more people are morbidly obese, American Wasteland sheds light on the history, culture, and mindset of waste while exploring the parallel eco-friendly and sustainable-food movements. As the era of unprecedented prosperity comes to an end, it’s time to reexamine our culture of excess. Working at both a local grocery store and a major fast food chain and volunteering with a food recovery group, Bloom also interviews experts—from Brian Wansink to Alice Waters to Nobel Prize–winning economist Amartya Sen—and digs up not only why and how we waste, but, more importantly, what we can do to change our ways.

So far, American Wasteland is packed with a lot of startling information compiled an an easy to digest package. Bloom presents the topic in an engaging style and tackles related issues from many angles by looking at each step in the process from industry to consumer. Ultimately he provides real world solutions that might just work to waste less and distribute more--if we makes some big changes. I'm looking forward to reading on and absolutely recommend American Wasteland. You can learn more about the subject at Jonathan's blog wasted food.

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