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The other week I watched a pretty cool special on The Food Network. Paula Deen’s diabetes news aside, there is an even bigger issue that Food Network has brought to my attention. Food waste.

Being a culinary student, I am all too familiar with food waste. We dump pounds and pounds of food into the garbage after every class. Sometimes we will halve our recipes, or try to give food away to the staff, but there is always some food that gets thrown in the garbage. Food that could feed someone in need. Hint: if you ever find yourself homeless and hungry (God forbid) a culinary school is the place to be.

A little about the Food Network special: The Big Waste.  “Chefs Bobby Flay, Michael Symon, Anne Burrell and Alex Guarnaschelli tackle one of the most massive problems in food today – waste! Divided into two teams, with only 48 hours on the clock, they are challenged to create a multi course gourmet banquet worthy of their great reputations, but with a big twist; they can only use food that is on its way to the trash. The chefs’ hunt takes them from grocery aisles to produce farms, and orchard lines to garbage piles, as they attempt to source enough ingredients to feed a gathering crowd. Bobby and Michael square off against Anne and Alex, as they challenge their views of food waste and how and why it is created.”

Here is a little video clip of the show ( Excuse the quality, it is all I could find, thanks to whoever filmed their TV and posted it on YouTube.)

Pretty crazy to see all that good food that just gets thrown away right?

So here is my biggest question. If there is all of this amazing, leftover, fresh produce, why are we feeding the hungry all this stuff?…

                             

Of course, it is understandable because fresh food just isn’t available in such large amounts…oh wait. It is.

You hear all the time about people wanting to “end hunger”and “feed America” but if we just feed them Mac and Cheese, I don’t see that as a job accomplished. Who is going to pay for their diabetes medications down the line? At this time, “feeding the hungry” fails to acknowledge the difference between feeding and nourishing.  People need nourishment, not just food.

With all of this food going to waste because it doesn’t sell in a regular grocery store, there has to be a solution. The Food Network chefs have already proved that is possible to take waste and turn it into a nourishing meal for a large group of people. I think they’ve proved something here. Food doesn’t have to be waste, and we can most definitely end hunger. My question is: When can we take advantage of this, and get people involved? How can we fix this problem?

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