Waste Not, Want Not

american wasteland cover

Click to buy on Amazon or borrow from your local library.

I recently read American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly half of Its Food (and What We Can Do About It) by Jonathan Bloom, a journalist and blogger at Wasted Food. After reading Michael Pollan’s controversial book The Omnivore’s Dilemma, I’ve been very interested in the impacts of food on the environment and on society. Bloom explores both in this easy-to-read nonfiction analysis of America’s food waste habits and the ways our society could go about changing them for the better. The crazy part about reading this book is that so much of Bloom’s advice is common sense, but it always seems that the common sense policies are the hardest to implement in a large-scale government system.

If you’re interested in the environment, food consumption, and you’re looking for a fast read, I highly recommend this book. To get a taste of Bloom’s style, go check out his blog – Wasted Food where he writes about many of the issues he discusses on his book in more bite-sized (see what I did there?) pieces.

The biggest takeaway for me was this:

Buy less.

Even as a college student still on meal plan, I buy too much food that I don’t end up eating for one reason or another. Maybe I go out to eat instead or forget that I bought the item, but the ultimate outcome is the same. It would be better for everyone if we started to fight the carefree attitude we have toward food waste. For every apple we throw out, all the resources put into that apple also go to waste. That’s a real shame.

Bloom cites a great food waste mantra from WWII advertising to encourage good rationing of food:

Buy wisely – cook carefully – eat it all

As I start cooking more of my own food and have a more controllable impact on my own food waste, I’ll definitely keep this in mind.


Additional Links

In case you missed the first two hyperlinks, Jonathan Bloom writes a blog called Wasted Food that’s quite interesting and fun to read.


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What impact does food waste have on you? Got any stories about food waste? Let me know in the comments.

2 Comments on “Waste Not, Want Not”

  1. freelanceallison says:

    Sounds like a really great book! I was reading an article about similar food-waste prevention tips last week and they had an interesting take: Buy as you need. Hit the food store once a month for the pantry re-stocking type of purchases and buy fresh food only as needed. Really emphasises the Buy Wisely idea 🙂 Can’t wait to check out this book!

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