I attend a staggering number of food events; each flip of the calendar page heralds a new flood of festivals, farm tours, charity dinners and foodie gatherings. The food is always the star of the show, and rightfully so given the thoughtful sourcing of ingredients, the painstaking preparation and presentation of the food, and the culmination of all this work when we finally bite into the edible creation. But, while it’s easy to ignore or even forget about what comes next, consumption isn’t the end of the consumer cycle. What happens to all the leftovers and half-eaten meals, all the plates, cups, forks and napkins? We toss these in an overflowing garbage can and walk away considering our duty done.
We get it: no one likes to think about garbage. We don’t like to see it, we don’t like to handle it and we definitely don’t like to smell it. We regulate our trash to landfills that many of us never even visit, opting instead for roadside garbage pickup, a convenience that insulates us from some difficult realities. Life is busy and anything that creates convenience is much appreciated, but when it comes to food event waste we’ve long been walking a dangerous line between keeping things convenient for attendees and clean-up crews and engaging in practices that have a lasting negative impact on our local environment and resources.
The features in this issue seek to heighten our awareness of food waste and show what we can all do to cut back, whether it’s through being a more thoughtful grocery shopper or making sure we support events that follow Zero Waste tenants. In the same vein, we wanted to draw attention to some butchery and ceramics projects happening throughout the islands. These two art forms also help reduce waste through promoting respect for our raw materials and cultivating a sense of honor for the vessels on which we place our food. This is a multi-faceted problem and solutions can be found on many fronts.
It’s time we jump on the national bandwagon and shed some light on this issue. This is about the horrific amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere each year by improperly managed food waste. It’s about the uncountable number of plastic bottles and utensils floating in the ocean that wash up on our beaches daily. It’s not pretty, it’s not fun, but it’s a real problem of our own creation and the time for change is now.
Dania Novack Katz
Publisher / Editor