Documentary digests food epidemic

By Samantha Sawh

From cooking shows all over television to culinary blogs littering the web, it’s clear Americans love food. However, in the United States, 40 percent of food purchased finds a home in trashcans instead of stomachs.

In the second Green Film of the semester, Just Eat It, filmmakers Grant Baldwin and Jen Rustemeyer tackled waste statistics with raised forks and knives.

Just Eat It was a documentary intended to highlight the staggering amounts of food wasted by households and stores.

As both filmmakers declared themselves as opponents to wastefulness, they chose to embark on a documented, painful journey — survive entirely on food waste for six months.

This did not mean digging through dumpsters in dark alleys and making dinner out of half-eaten burritos and moldy bread.

Baldwin and Rustemeyer traveled to grocery stores, buying fruits, vegetables and other products that were not aesthetically pleasing enough to be on shelves, or that were slightly past the date printed on them.

When that wouldn’t work, they would go to big dumpsters behind stores and take some of the fully boxed, fully sealed products that the store had thrown away. They would cook and eat those products, not wasting anything for six months.

The process of their experiment was enlightening. They were not starving or wasting away.

In contrast, they would find more food being thrown away than they knew what to do with, all piled up in bins that they couldn’t even sort all the way through.

On one trip to the store, Baldwin even found a huge dumpster, resembling a small swimming pool in size, filled to the brim with hummus. It wasn’t expired, contaminated or recalled. It was simply wasted.

By the end of the journey, Baldwin had even gained weight. They were not eating beans out of cans every night — instead, they cooked a variety of delicious meals, including Asian noodles, fondue, pasta and sauce, and many others.

There were moments in the film that they actually struggled with all of the food they found and bought a fridge that was practically bursting at the hinges.

Just Eat It was a film that cooked up a story that many people overlook — every day, hundreds of pounds of food are being wasted from every grocery store.

In households, nearly half of what is being purchased lives only to see the garbage. The documentary is a story of waste, whether of food, money or the planet’s resources.

By the time the credits roll, viewers will feel ready both to eat everything in their pantry, but also not waste any of it. In more ways than one, the film Just Eat It fed viewers more than they could keep on their plates.

Just Eat It is available via Blu Ray in the library. The next Green Film, The Human Experiment, will be held Tuesday, Nov. 10 and Wednesday, Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. in Sweigart 115. 


Printed in the 10/21/15 edition.

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