“Wasting Away in the USA”
A Review of
By Jonathan Bloom
A Documentary by Jeremy Seifert.
Reviewed by Chase Roden.
How America Throws Away Nearly Half of Its Food
(and What We Can Do About It).
Hardback: De Capo, 2010.
Buy now: [ Amazon – Hardback ] [ Amazon – Kindle ]
A Documentary by Jeifert Seifert.
Available through the website: www.divethefilm.com
Jeremy Seifert wants you to eat trash. Jonathan Bloom just wants you to stop throwing food away.
In the wealthiest country in the world, while tens of millions of Americans don’t get enough to eat or know how they’re going to get their next meal, we throw away 11 million pounds of food an hour. While people suffer malnutrition or even starve, half of the food grown or purchased in America is thrown out, uneaten.
Seifert and Bloom independently take on food waste in two recent works, approaching the topic from surprisingly different perspectives. Where Jonathan Bloom’s book American Wasteland focuses on waste in the production, sale, and disposal of food, Jeremy Seifert’s documentary Dive starts with dumpster diving — the reclaiming of edible food from the trash cans of grocery stores — and moves to broader questions about American society. The problem as Seifert and Bloom both identify it is not simply one of hunger in a land of waste, but also of the massive environmental impact of food rotting in landfills.
Jonathan Bloom’s career as a freelance journalist shows in his far-ranging fieldwork and tendency to use examples of individuals and institutions to make his case against waste. Starting on a factory farm in Salinas, CA and going wherever the story takes him — school cafeterias, landfills, nursing homes, high-tech waste facilities in the UK — Bloom is dedicated to uncovering and understanding waste wherever it occurs. He even takes a job in the produce section of a Durham, NC grocery store for several months in order to witness the industry first-hand. The stories Bloom uncovers are treated fairly and with a positive outlook, with the stories of people working against wastefulness alongside accounts of profligacy.