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article imageReview: ‘Just Eat It’ shows the danger of society’s love affair with food Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Apr 23, 2014 in Entertainment
‘Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story’ chronicles one couple’s vow to quit grocery shopping and survive only on discarded food – a pledge that leads to jaw-dropping findings.
When it comes to issues regarding the environment, top concerns tend to be emissions, recycling and energy sources. However there is a problem widely affecting the industrialized world that is not being addressed by any of the key organizations in global prevention and preservation: food waste. In Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story, filmmakers make some shocking discoveries regarding the amounts of food – spoiled or not – that is discarded daily at different levels of the food chain.
Filmmakers Grant Baldwin and Jen Rustemeyer proved their dedication to environmental sustainability with their first film, The Clean Bin Project, which documented a year of living with zero waste. Now the Vancouver couple is tackling refuse from a different angle. For six months they stop grocery shopping and pledge to only consume food that would have otherwise been discarded. They are never hungry during this period and are often overwhelmed by the amount of food they've rescued and that which is still sent to the landfill.
In addition to documenting their own journey, they speak to other activists who are advocating about the issue and confirming that in fact billions of dollars in good food is thrown out annually just in North America. Tracing the line of production from farm to retail to kitchen, the waste that occurs is astonishing and reasons for most of it is appalling – until you realize they're right, you probably wouldn't have bought that misshapen peach either.
The amount of food people throw out is the equivalent of buying groceries and leaving one bag in the...
The amount of food people throw out is the equivalent of buying groceries and leaving one bag in the parking lot, according to 'Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story'
Hot Docs
Without being accusatory, this documentary subtly turns the tables on its audience. It confronts them with the obscene amounts of food being allowed to expire in our homes and the exponential amount that never even makes it there. It forces them to question their buying habits. It explains the evolution and consequences of squandering as it looks at our systemic obsession with expiry dates, perfect produce and portion sizes. Combining these elements, the film reveals the core of a seemingly insignificant issue that is having devastating effects around the world.
Though some of what they uncover is disheartening – particularly the unbelievable amount of food discovered in the waste bins behind supermarkets rather than the fridges and cupboards of the country's 10 per cent who are food insecure – it's also compelling and inspiring. Farmers permit volunteers to "glean" their fields for unpicked produce before the soil is turned over and all the remaining vegetables are composted. A store exists between the levels of supermarket and food bank, which is stocked with items that would have otherwise been discarded by sellers and allows qualifying individuals to shop for groceries at a reduced price.
So while the current state is bleak, awareness is halfway to a solution.
Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story is screening in the “Canadian Spectrum” programme at the Hot Docs Film Festival.
Director: Grant Baldwin
More about Just Eat It A Food Waste Story, Hot Docs Film Festival, Grant Baldwin, Jen Rustemeyer, Documentary
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