I propose to create a video series that would aim to inform the public on ways to adjust individual practices to reduce the unprecedented food waste in first world countries. There have been huge strides in ending world hunger thanks to agricultural technology. These agricultural practices are incredibly controversial as of late, but what is not debatable is the fact that a huge portion (over 31% in the U.S.) of that food is ending up in our already-bloated landfills. There are many factors that have contributed to our disregard for the value of food including the illusion of abundance seen in every major grocery market. Agriculture is the largest consumer of freshwater resources, and the meat industry is the largest contributor to greenhouse emissions worldwide. With the earth’s population exceeding 7 billion, it is reasonable to expect food to be a large draw of resources. But that doesn’t have to mean producing enough food to feed 1.5 times the world’s population only to let over a third of it rot while 805 million people go hungry. Reducing food waste in the US would relieve the current 20 lbs of solid waste per person per month that it contributed to landfills. Maximizing food resources on a household level would cut food costs for families and would allow for more room for locally grown, organic foods in their budgets. In addition, if these households are then confident in the ability to properly preserve perishable food, this could result in an increase in consumption of fresh produce and other less-process foods.
Videos showcasing statistical information about Food Waste in America and Worldwide
“Food Waste – A Story of Excess” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwVuz0UJl2A
“Food Wastage Footprint” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IoCVrkcaH6Q
“Food Wastage Footprint 2” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Md3ddmtja6s
6 Episode Reducing Food Waste Video Series Breakdown
1: How to Tell When Food is Safe to Eat
This episode will use visual examples of how to determine the freshness and safety of food. The information shared would be based on FDA information as well as information collected from other reputable food safety organizations.
2: Food Preservation Methods
This episode will act as a visual tutorial on how to best preserve perishable foods, as well as advice on the consequences and benefits of purchasing food at pre-ripe and ripe stages.
3: How to Use Foods to Their Full Extent
This episode will explain how to maximize certain foods, including making vegetable broth from scraps and using certain foods for household cleaning or beauty products.
4: Home Composting
This episode will dive into the world of home composting, with a focus on small-scale,
apartment-friendly compost practices.
5: Meal Planning Tips
This episode would provide tips on how to maximize your shopping list to avoid generating food scraps in the first place, including some recipe examples and a list of non-perishable staples to have in your pantry to make the most of your fresh food.
6: Safety Tips for Food Rescue/Freeganism
This “finale” episode will touch on the culture of food rescue on a grand scale (City Harvest) as well as on an individual level (dumpster diving, freeganism). This episode will provide responsible information about safe dumpster diving practices as well as tips on navigating the legal issues involved.
I want this video series to be fast-paced enough to keep the attention of the average youtube user. Today, information is often translated through exciting graphics and snappy editing to make the topic digestible while still having a lasting impact. On the other hand, I do not want this video series to be too glossy like those made by organizations such as ThinkEatSave.org or City Harvest. Instead of employing the cleancut aesthetics that are shared by both corporations and major nonprofits alike, I’d like to make the videos more rough around the edges. This will be a tricky balance between professionalism and accessibility, but is one that I’ve seen achieved by several prominent Youtubers, the most inspiring of which is Casey Neistat. His work centers around informing the consumer public through videos that do not attempt to hide the filmmaking process as is the standard expectation in the field. It provides a level of integrity that is not achieved by other reviewers, and even his branded content is honest and not overly flattering, especially compared with average commercial pieces. Two examples of his work linked below:
I have met many people working within this movement, including organic farmers, die-hard freegan food rescuers, chefs, and even food sculpturists. I believe they could all contribute to the information and aesthetic of the project and perhaps even find uses for the video series in their own work.
Presenting food safety information is a very large responsibility, and it will be imperative that I find the most reputable sources for what I communicate in my videos. The legal and safety issues surrounding dumpster diving are often debated by those in and outside the freegan community, and there are additional moral issues to consider as well.
As I have stated in my introduction, there are clear consequences of food waste for the environment and human health. This being said, it is a fairly well-covered issue in terms of video and written content, and there is plenty of information about the grave results of our extravagant food system. What is missing, however, is empowerment on a consumer level. Supporting and volunteering for organizations like City Harvest is a great way to combat the issue, but the majority of consumers are not able to donate their time in this manner. What everyone does have time for is feeding themselves and their families. It is a fundamental human process to acquire and consume food, and it is in everyone’s best interest to maximize their food budgets and minimize the need to dispose of solid waste. For that reason, I believe a simple and energized video series would greatly benefit the movement against food waste. In this current “Buzzfeed” information age, information needs to be clear, accessible, credible, and easily translated to action, and that is what I hope to achieve with this project.