A couple weeks ago I watched a really great documentary about food waste called Just Eat It. If you haven’t seen it, go…watch it…now. It really opened my eyes to how much waste is created just in harvesting ‘perfect’ produce. You know what I’m talking about. Finding an orange with flawless skin, tomatoes that are plump and the perfect shape, or potatoes that aren’t growing any weird extra limbs. I think we’re all guilty of it somewhat, I know I am for sure! After watching the movie, I had to stop and ask myself why? Why do I seek perfection in the food I eat? Well, because I want to feed my body the best food possible which I’ve thought to believe had to have the perfect shape and be absolutely flawless. I guess I didn’t realize that grocery stores do a great job of hiding the rejects of ‘ugly’ food, therefore my lack of knowledge in it.
Last weekend I did a volunteer project with a local company, Food Forward, that focuses on rescuing food from farms, homeowner yards, and leftovers from farmer’s markets that would otherwise get wasted and then donates it to food banks. Almost every yard here in LA has some kind of fruit tree which are really beautiful, but the sad truth is that most of the fruit on those trees aren’t harvested and rot to the ground. On this particular project there was a grapefruit farm with about 250 trees about an hour outside of LA that had so much grapefruit that was ‘ugly’ and it would go to waste (but they are all perfectly edible and taste delicious). It was so disheartening to show up and already see how much waste was on the ground. Myself along with about 25 other volunteers picked from all their trees for about 2 hours and we barely made a dent. I picked 4 boxes worth of fruit which probably weighed about 30lbs a piece. I’m not exactly sure the total count of boxes that was rescued but it filled up an entire cargo van. And I just found out that the total weight was 2960lbs that will be distributed amongst several food banks through out the city.
I asked to take a box to do a photo shoot and show exactly how beautiful the grapefruit really are. This experience has changed what ‘perfect’ food looks like and means to me. As long as it’s not rotten and nourishes my body without GMO’s, then I’ll eat it…and I hope you will too!