According to a 2013 report issued by the United Nations Environmental Programme, roughly one third, or more than one billion tons, of all food produced in the world for human consumption gets wasted. Each year, consumers in developed countries, waste nearly as much food as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa.
But the loss of food that could otherwise feed the hungry isn’t the only problem. In addition to squandered financial and natural resources, food waste generates more rotting food, creating more methane – one of the most harmful greenhouse gases to contribute to climate change.
Filmmaker Jen Rustemeyer and her partner Grant Baldwin were equally disturbed by the negative impact of food waste and decided to do something about it.
“You hear these statistics like 40% of food is being wasted, but you don’t really understand what that means until you see it with your own eyes,” Rustemeyer said.
Jen Rustemeyer: Minimizing food wasteFilmmaker Jen Rustemeyer discusses the issue of food waste.
The pair devised a plan whereby they’d live solely on food that was discarded or given to them by others for six months and captured the journey on camera. What transpired is seen in their award-winning film, Just Eat It.
“Food is really being thrown out for two reasons: aesthetic standards and ‘Good Before’ dates,” explained Rustemeyer. “Too many consumers have been confused by the dates and they rely on them too much. They throw the food out before the ‘Best Before’ date because they’re scared of it. We really need to get back to using our senses.”
From Vancouver, British Columbia, filmmaker Jen Rustemeyer joined May Lee in our Los Angeles studio to discuss her food waste journey with partner Grant Baldwin.