Writing Project II
Analysis and Evaluation of an Argument
For this assignment, you will write an argument essay in which you analyze one of the
readings due between February 11 and February 18.
Rough Draft Due: 2/20
Final Draft Due: 2/25
Project Learning Objectives:
• Recognize strategies of written arguments
• Analyze audience and purpose
• Evaluate use of evidence
• Evaluate anticipation of possible reader objections
Argument Analysis/Evaluation Defined: An argument analysis examines the
components and elements of an argument (as discussed in the related reading assignments
and in class) and reaches a conclusion about the extent to which the argument is effective
or ineffective. It is NOT meant to be primarily a discussion of whether or not you agree
with the argument and the writer’s claim.
Your Introduction: Remember that your introduction should appeal to your readers’
reason, emotions and/or sense of ethics (in other words, get their interest). It should
additionally identify your topic and end with a clear statement of your claim.
Your Claim/Thesis: Will consist of your evaluation of the degree to which the writer of
the essay’s argument is convincing.
Your Summary: After your introduction, you should include a summary of your chosen
essay. Be as concise (in other words, just the facts, leave out the supporting details) and
objective as possible.
Required Length: Minimum of three full pages plus a works cited page.
Format: MLA style
Items to Consider in your Argument and Evaluation:
• What background information is provided to the audience? Does this information
help or hinder the overall argument? Why is such information provided?
• What are the claims/arguments/assertions?
• What evidence is provided to support the claims/arguments/assertions? Is this
evidence credible?
• How are opposing views dealt with? (those views that disagree with the writer’s
• Is there anything not mentioned in the argument that should have been
• Is the argument convincing/persuasive? Why? How?
Waste not
About a
third of
the planet’s
food goes
to waste.
In California’s
Salinas Valley
growers annually
trash thousands of
tons of fresh greens
that lack suicient
shelf life for a crosscountry journey.
Want not
That’s enough
to feed
two billion
At a Paris feast chefs
simmer cosmetically
challenged veggies—
gleaned or donated—
into a curry for
6,100 anti-waste
The Future of
By Elizabeth Royte
Photographs by Brian Finke
Tristram Stuart has 24 hours to
produce a restaurant meal for 50
people—to plan a menu, gather food,
then welcome guests to a venue
in a city not his own. Complicating
what sounds like a reality-show
contest is a singular rule: Nearly all
the ingredients must be sourced
from farms and vendors intending
to throw them out.
After racing back to New York City from a New
Jersey farm where he gleaned 75 pounds of crookneck squash deemed by the farmers too crooked
to sell, Stuart bolts from a car creeping through
traffic and darts into a Greenwich Village bakery. Tall and blond, with a posh English accent,
he launches into his ten-second spiel: “I run an
organization that campaigns against food waste,
and I’m pulling together a feast tomorrow made
with food that won’t be sold or donated to charity. Do you have any bread that we could use?”
This story is part of National Geographic’s Future of Food
initiative, a special five-year project that seeks to show how
what we eat makes us who we are.
national geographic • marc h 2 0 1 6
The bakery doesn’t, but the clerk hands him two
broken chocolate-chip cookies as consolation.
Stuart flings himself into the car. His next stop:
the Union Square farmers market, where he spies
a chef wrapping fish in squares of brioche dough,
then trimming them into half circles. “Can I have
your corners?” Stuart asks, with a meant-to-becharming smile. The chef, uncharmed, declines.
He’s going to make use of this dough himself.
Undaunted, Stuart sails on through the market,
delivering his pitch and eventually procuring
discarded beet greens, wheatgrass, and apples.
Eighteen hours later scores of chefs, foodrecovery experts, and activists talk shop over
chef Celia Lam’s squash tempura, turnip and
tofu dumplings, and spiralized zucchini noodles. Stuart himself had cooked very little, but
he had, without a single formal meeting, ensorcelled a half dozen people to devise a menu,
gather ingredients, and then prep, cook, serve,
and clean up a meal for little more than the
chance to be associated with one of the most
compelling figures in the international fight
against food waste.
Across cultures, food waste goes against the
moral grain. After all, nearly 800 million people
worldwide sufer from hunger. But according
Near Apartadó, Colombia, activist Tristram Stuart
examines bananas too short, long, or curved
for the European market. Locals consume some
rejected bananas, but growers in the region
annually dump millions of tons of edible fruit.
to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the
United Nations, we squander enough food—globally, 2.9 trillion pounds a year—to feed every one
of them more than twice over. Where’s all that
food—about a third of the planet’s production—
going? In developing nations much is lost postharvest for lack of adequate storage facilities,
Wa s t e N o t, Wa n t N o t
good roads, and refrigeration. In comparison,
developed nations waste more food farther down
the supply chain, when retailers order, serve, or
display too much and when consumers ignore
leftovers in the back of the fridge or toss perishables before they’ve expired.
Wasting food takes an environmental toll as
well. Producing food that no one eats—whether sausages or snickerdoodles—also squanders
the water, fertilizer, pesticides, seeds, fuel, and
land needed to grow it. The quantities aren’t
trivial. Globally a year’s production of uneaten
food guzzles as much water as the entire annual
flow of the Volga, Europe’s most voluminous
river. Growing the 133 billion pounds of food
that retailers and consumers discard in the
United States annually slurps the equivalent
of more than 70 times the amount of oil lost in
the Gulf of Mexico’s Deepwater Horizon disaster, according to American Wasteland author
Jonathan Bloom. These staggering numbers
don’t even include the losses from farms, fishing
vessels, and slaughterhouses. If food waste were
a country, it would be the third largest producer
of greenhouse gases in the world, after China
and the U.S. On a planet of finite resources, with
the expectation of at least two billion more residents by 2050, this profligacy, Stuart argues
in his book Waste: Uncovering the Global Food
Scandal, is obscene.
Others have been making similar arguments
for years, but reducing food waste has become
a matter of international urgency. Some U.S.
schools, where children dump up to 40 percent
of their lunches into the trash, are setting up
sharing tables, letting students serve themselves
portions they know they’ll eat, allotting more
time for lunch, and scheduling it after recess—
all proven methods of boosting consumption.
Countless businesses, such as grocery stores,
Thirty percent of the mandarin crop in Huaral,
Peru, won’t meet exacting export standards.
Most of the rejects will be eaten locally. Globally
46 percent of fruits and vegetables never make
it from farm to fork.
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Lost and Tossed: Fruit and Vegetables
Every year some 2.9 trillion pounds of food—about a third of all that the world produces—
never get consumed. Along the supply chain fruits and vegetables are lost or wasted at
higher rates than other foods. Easily bruised and vulnerable to temperature swings en route
from farm to table, they’re also usually the first to get tossed at home.
Produce abandoned or discarded during harvesting, shipping, or processing
Lost during picking
and sorting
Lost during storage
and shipping
Lost during juice production,
canning, or baking
restaurants, and cafeterias, have stepped forward to combat waste by quantifying how much
edible food isn’t consumed, optimizing their
purchasing, shrinking portion sizes, and beefing
up efforts to move excess to charities. Stuart
himself has made a specialty of investigating
conditions farther up the supply chain, where
supermarket standards and ordering practices
lead to massive, but mostly hidden, dumps of
edible food.
Fifty miles north of Lima, Peru, in the farming town of Huaral, Stuart sips a glass of freshly squeezed satsuma juice with Luis Garibaldi,
whose Fundo Maria Luisa is the largest grower of
mandarins in the country. Pitched forward in his
seat under a poolside pergola, Stuart asks: How
much do you export? How much is rejected? For
what reason? And what happens to those discards? Seventy percent of his crop, Garibaldi says,
is exported to the European Union and North
America. But 30 percent won’t be the right size,
color, or sweetness, or it might have blemishes,
scars, scratches, sunburn, fungus, or spiders. To
local markets most of these rejects go, netting
Garibaldi just one-third the price of the exports.
national geographic • marc h 2 0 1 6
Stuart works through a ladder of queries that
lead to a general thesis: Supermarkets’ cosmetic standards are crazily exacting—until supply
shrinks, at which point they crumble like a
chocolate lattice.
“So grocers purchase this slightly imperfect
fruit, and consumers still buy it?” Stuart asks.
“Yes,” Garibaldi says, nodding.
In the fragrant orchard, which lies in a valley
under the parched crenellations of the Cordilleran foothills, Stuart plucks a mandarin unfit
for any market but stops short of eating it. “I
don’t mind maggots, actually, but that one was
fermented,” he says, choosing instead a fruit
with two tiny brown spots. Fundo Maria Luisa,
it turns out, generates relatively little waste,
thanks to its U.K. representative, who examines shipments and negotiates with any buyers poised to reject fruit for specious reasons.
Often, Garibaldi says, a supermarket’s rejection
of food for cosmetic reasons is merely a coverup for its inaccurate forecasts or an unexpected
drop in sales. Either way, the grower is expected
to eat the loss.
We drive 200 miles south, past tall sand dunes
and wind-eroded ridges. All is ocher and dust
Industrialized countries lose
fewer fruits and vegetables
in production, but consumers
there waste more. In developing countries more is lost in
production, but consumers
throw out less.
Produce discarded by vendors or consumers, often because of damage or expiration dates
Discarded at wholesalers
and supermarkets
Uneaten and discarded
in homes
Lost or Wasted
until we reach valleys suddenly verdant with
irrigated farmland—a consequence of foreign
investment, favorable trade agreements, cheap
labor, a warm climate, and a once bountiful aquifer. In the Ica Region, Stuart interviews a farmer
who annually abandons in his fields millions of
stalks of asparagus too thin or too curved or with
bud tips slightly too open to export.
Next a producer tells him that he
dumps more than a thousand
tons of infinitesimally imperfect
Minneola tangelos and a hundred
tons of grapefruit a year into a
sandpit behind his packhouse.
Grade standards—industry driven and voluntary—were devised
long ago to provide growers and
buyers with a common language
for evaluating produce and mediating disputes. They also can help reduce food
waste. If growers can sort their asparagus or tangelos into established grades, they stand a better
chance of finding markets for their “seconds.”
Supermarkets have always been free to set their
own standards, of course, but in recent years upscale grocers have started running their produce
departments like beauty pageants, responding to
customers, they say, who expect only platonically
ideal produce: apples round and shiny, asparagus
straight and tightly budded.
“It’s all about quality and appearance,” says
Rick Stein, vice president of fresh foods at the
Food Marketing Institute. “And only the best
appearance will capture share
of the consumer’s wallet.” Some
of the produce that doesn’t capture share will be donated to food
banks or chopped up and used in
a supermarket’s prepared meals
or salad bar, but most of U.S. grocers’ excess food is neither donated nor recycled. Stuart applauds
some U.S. and EU supermarkets’
recent campaigns to sell “ugly”
produce at a discount, but he
prefers a systemic fix. “It would be far better to
simply relax the standards,” he says, surveying a
sea of abandoned Peruvian citrus for which no
secondary market—ugly or otherwise—exists.
trashed food
has become
a matter of
For seven days Stuart traipses around farms
and packhouses, runs through his questions,
Wa s t e N o t, Wa n t N o t
Gleaning for Good
In the Picardy region of France a volunteer helps glean 1,100 pounds
of potatoes too small to harvest mechanically. The potatoes will join carrots,
eggplants, and other gleaned and donated vegetables at Paris’s Place de la
République. There volunteers allied with Stuart’s group Feedback will chop
this bounty into a meal for 6,100 diners. Feedback has helped organize more
than 30 of these public feasts around the world to raise awareness of food
waste and inspire local solutions.
Wa s t e N o t, Wa n t N o t
Salvaging Scraps
For more than 50 years RC Farms has
been collecting Las Vegas kitchen waste and
plate scrapings, like these zucchini sticks
and fries from the cofee shop at Jerry’s
Nugget Casino. Hauled a short distance to
Bob and Janet Combs’s third-generation
farm, the food scraps will be sterilized and
fed to 2,500 pigs, replacing more than 800
tons of swine feed a year. Portions in U.S.
restaurants have increased significantly in
recent decades, contributing to obesity and
food waste.
gathers data, and samples rejects. Between
visits he folds himself like a fruit bat into the
backseat of a crowded car and types. Tap, tap.
He’s working out logistics for his next research
trip, then accepting a drinks invitation from the
general manager of the Food Bank of Peru. Tap,
tap. An appointment with a food rescuer who
just flew up from Santiago, Chile. Everywhere
he goes, it seems, people want to tell Stuart an
egregious story about food waste.
Sleep-deprived, unshaven, and sometimes
hungover—what’s the point of being in a new
country if you can’t sample what’s locally fermented?—Stuart remains focused. In fumechoked traffic he arranges to meet with a
Peruvian congressman trying to overturn tax
laws that incentivize dumping excess food over
donating it. As we careen down a serpentine
road, he taps out revisions to a proposed foodwaste-reduction bill in the U.K. Parliament and
a letter in support of expanding the authority
of the U.K.’s Groceries Code Adjudicator. Next
he floats to colleagues the idea of a Lima “disco
soup”—a communal meal of rejected food, similar to the feast in New York City—to be held in
four days for 50 to 100 people.
The possibility spurs a series of calls to his
newest friends. “You are totally awesome,” he
says, hyperenunciating. “Do you think we might
national geographic • marc h 2 0 1 6
be able to … It’s outrageous of me to ask but …”
What’s the goal of the disco soup, besides rescuing food? Raising awareness and building
community. This squishy stuff works. While
gleaning, dicing, and dining, chefs
from Lima to London have connected with charities hungry for their
excess; California entrepreneurs
have hatched schemes to rescue
wonky-looking fruit from burial;
civil society groups have fomented plans for a Kenyan food-rescue
network; a Belgian brewer has been
emboldened to convert stale bread
into salable beer.
A disco soup in Lima seems
harebrained, given that Stuart
is five hours from the city, has a
looming appointment at a Colombian banana plantation, controls
neither a dining room nor a kitchen, and has no
budget and no food. But history suggests he will
probably succeed.
Living miles from the nearest town but
psychologically close to his grandparents’
self-suicient farm defined Stuart. His father
tended a large vegetable garden, and Stuart
added pigs and chickens to the
mix. In exchange for manure,
Simon gave Tristram his vegetable trimmings. “So I had eggs
and meat, and I’d go out with my
ferrets to catch rabbits and shoot
deer,” Stuart says. The larder was
almost complete. Stuart had begun selling pork and eggs to the
parents of his schoolmates, but
he quickly realized that buying
animal feed would bankrupt him.
He started a swill route: collecting misfit potatoes and stale
cakes from local shops and his
school kitchen. He bred his sow,
Gudrun, and he learned how much edible food
the community daily discarded.
Stuart’s environmental consciousness was
expanding. At 12, he’d written a paper likening
the burning of fossil fuels to smoking cigarettes—
both were self-destructive and addictive. After
spending part of a year on a French cattle farm,
he entered the University of Cambridge, where
he studied English literature and experienced a
cruel uprooting from his agro-ecological heaven.
The school food was produced “with no attention
to sustainable criteria,” he says. In response he
joined other campus activists who were dining on
food they’d liberated from supermarket Dumpsters. He also drank cider pressed from strangers’
apples, shared the roasted brains, rolled spleens,
and crisped ears of Gudrun’s many offspring,
and—after learning they were tasty—slurped
snails from friends’ gardens.
It’s not surprising to learn that Stuart once
dabbled in theater. “I quite liked it,” he says,
though it eventually threatened to “get in the way
of the really important work of saving the planet.”
He was suiciently self-aware to realize that privileged students plucking unopened tubs of ricotta
from rubbish bins had great rhetorical potential.
At that time, he says, neither supermarkets nor
takes every
to eat low on
the hog—
chicken blood,
guinea pig,
Stuart, now 38, was born in London, the last of
three boys. He lived in the city part-time but at
14 took up full-time residence with his father in
rural East Sussex, where the family kept a large
house in Ashdown Forest, the model for Winniethe-Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood. Just across
the valley lay what had been his grandparents’
estate, a sprawling property with enough farm
staf during World War II to field a cricket team
against the local village. Stuart’s father, Simon,
had grown up there, and his stories about the
farm’s bounty bewitched his youngest son.
Simon Stuart was a talented teacher of
English and an outstanding naturalist. “We
could never learn everything he knew,” Tristram recalls. “So my brothers and I split it up.
One did birds, another did dragonflies, and I
did mushrooms.” (Dining on a $22 pizza topped
with “wild” mushrooms the night before his
New York City feast, Stuart lights into the waiter. “Your menu is s—. I’m a forager. I know what
wild mushrooms look like, and these are from
a shop.”)
national geographic • marc h 2 0 1 6
government agencies had any overt policies on
food waste. That was about to change.
By 2002 Stuart’s bin diving had attracted enough attention for him to help produce
a food-waste documentary for a BBC politics
show, and activists around the world were
reaching out to him to partner on food rescues.
(He was living then in London.) With enough
data on where and precisely why food was lost
throughout the food chain, he realized, he might
actually be able to do something about it. Thus
were sown the seeds of his book Waste, in which
he investigated the causes and environmental
toll of food waste around the globe.
An employee at Las Vegas’s Aria Resort and
Casino sorts the edible from the inedible. Feeding
the scraps to nonruminant animals, such as pigs,
recycles their nutrients and eliminates some of
the methane that food would generate in a landfill.
Waste was critically acclaimed, but Stuart
knew the data-heavy book wouldn’t be read by
millions, and he desperately wanted millions to
support his cause. “Hence, Feeding the 5,000,”
he says, echoing Jesus’ instruction in John 6:12
to “gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” Launched in 2009, Feeding the
Wa s t e N o t, Wa n t N o t
5,000 would become Stuart’s flagship event—a
free public feast made entirely of orphaned food.
These gatherings have now been replicated in
more than 30 cities. Thousands partake of the
meals, reams of ink and pixels follow, and public outcry is amplified. Soon Stuart was giving
speeches around the world and sharply criticizing the food industry’s most powerful actors,
many of whom he put on the defensive with his
polemics. Supermarkets, in turn, considered him
“a pain in the ass,” he says. “And I was.”
From whence does Stuart’s formidable selfconfidence spring? One hardly knows where
to begin. Stuart is ambitious, aggressive, and
narcissistic. But he’s also eloquent, amusing,
and supremely knowledgeable on his central
topic. “When he speaks, you want to join him,”
says Dana Gunders, a food-waste specialist with
the Natural Resources Defense Council who authored the Waste Free Kitchen Handbook. “He’s
really good at not only kindling that passion in
others but maintaining it, adding to the army
of passionate people who want to do something
about food waste.”
Stuart takes every opportunity to eat low
on the hog—the better to keep what’s uncoveted
from rubbish bins and to model positive behavior. On his first morning in Peru he breakfasts
on congealed chicken blood. “I’ve never had
that before,” he says, happily. At lunch he exults in guinea pig. On day two he orders beef
tripe; on day three, tongue and a great deal of
pisco. Such is his macho carnivorism that when
Stuart tells me he’s procured “fried balls” for a
hasty airport lunch, I assume he’s talking about
testicles. They turn out to be relatives of the
potato knish.
The protein seems to fortify Stuart for farm
and packhouse conversations that quickly grow
weedy with numbers. Kilos, tons, containers,
At RC Farms, just ten or so miles from the Las Vegas
Strip, hogs convert surplus potatoes from a local
food processor into protein that may eventually find
its way onto our plates.
Wa s t e N o t, Wa n t N o t
Selling Surplus
Staggered to learn that the U.S. wastes 30 to 40 percent of its food while
one in seven people sufers from food insecurity, Doug Rauch, former president
of Trader Joe’s, opened a nonprofit supermarket in Dorchester, Massachusetts.
Called Daily Table, the supermarket sells discounted fruits and vegetables that
are about to be discarded because they’re too close to peak freshness; it also
sells inexpensive surplus goods and prepares healthy to-go meals. “Hunger and
wasted food,” Rauch says, “are two problems that can have one solution.”
Wa s t e N o t, Wa n t N o t
Eating Ugly
Every year some six billion pounds of
U.S. fruits and vegetables go unharvested
or unsold, often for aesthetic reasons.
Imperfect, a start-up based in Emeryville,
California, buys outré-looking produce from
farmers and delivers it, at low cost, to more
than a thousand San Francisco Bay Area
subscribers. U.S. and European retail chains
also have had success selling odd-looking
fruits and vegetables at discount. “We’re
redefining beauty, not taste,” says Ron
Clark, an Imperfect founder.
pallets, percentages rejected, recovered, left for
dead. His stomach for such minutiae is large.
“I want to be able to tell Europeans that their
preference for a closed tip on their asparagus
equals X million acres of land, X million gallons of water, and X million pounds of fertilizer
wasted.” He takes a breath. “I need to make a
headline, to tell people in a concise way that
their choices matter.”
Indeed they do. With governments fretting
over how to feed more than nine billion people by 2050, a dominant narrative calls for increasing global food production by 70 to 100
percent. But agriculture already represents one
of the greatest threats to planetary health. It is
responsible for 70 percent of the planet’s freshwater withdrawals, 80 percent of the world’s
tropical and subtropical deforestation, and 30
to 35 percent of human-caused greenhouse
gas emissions. As the population grows and
emerging economies develop a taste for meat
and dairy products, which require huge inputs
of grain and other resources for relatively little
caloric gain, this toll will worsen. But converting more wildlands to farm fields may not be
necessary, some experts say. If we slash waste,
change our diet to eat less meat and dairy, divert
fewer food crops to biofuels, and boost yields
national geographic • marc h 2 0 1 6
Reducing Waste: How You Can Help
Developed countries are responsible for most of the food left uneaten on grocery-store shelves,
on restaurant plates, and in home refrigerators. Here are some tips to reduce your waste footprint.
Make careful decisions about what and how much you buy at
the grocery store.
Americans spend about as much at restaurants as they
do at grocery stores.
• Shop at stores that offer misshapen food at a discount.
• Skip the cafeteria tray. Diners who use trays waste 32 percent
more than those who carry their plates in their hands.
• Purchase prepared meals at the deli or salad bar, which allows
supermarkets to make use of imperfect produce.
• Take home leftovers.
• Buy frozen foods, which suffer fewer losses from farm to shelf.
• Share side dishes to keep portions under control.
• Shop often. Start with a large trip and then make smaller
follow-ups to buy a few days’ worth of produce at a time.
• Ask the waiter to hold extras such as bread and butter you
don’t plan to eat.
• Buy fresh food at local farmers markets.
• Encourage restaurants and caterers to donate leftovers.
on underperforming acres, we may be able to
feed more than nine billion people a healthy
diet without trashing more rain forests, plowing
up more prairies, or wiping out more wetlands.
Stuart never loses sight of this big picture, but
he knows that paradigm changes are incremental. And so he stands in the desert behind an Ica
packinghouse, hammering away at Luis Torres,
general manager of Shuman Produce Peru. Lacking a local market for what he cannot export, Torres annually dumps 3.5 million pounds of small
or imperfectly spherical onions. But he’s reluctant to blame buyers for this loss.
“If I complain, the supermarket will find a
new farmer,” he says, shrugging. “I am a practical
person. I can do nothing to change the rules.”
Standing with his feet spread and arms
crossed, Stuart replies, “I can.”
Three years ago Stuart spent a week running
around the Kenyan countryside, hunting down
Q Society Grant Tristram Stuart is a National
Geographic emerging explorer; his fieldwork was
funded in part by the National Geographic Society.
national geographic • marc h 2 0 1 6
ingredients for a formal dinner in Nairobi where
the United Nations Environment Programme
(UNEP) would highlight the problem of food
waste. A hundred miles from the capital, he met a
farmer forced by European cosmetic standards to
reject 40 tons a week of green beans, broccoli, sugar snap peas, and runner beans—enough food to
serve 250,000 people. Within a year Stuart and a
camera crew returned to Kenya and discovered
that farmers were grading out nearly half of their
harvest in fields and packhouses, with green bean
farmers losing even more product by trimming
both the tips and the tails of each surviving bean.
Supermarkets also routinely canceled orders at
the last minute without compensating the farmers. After Feedback publicized images of the rejected beans and accused major supermarket
chains of transferring their costs to relatively powerless growers, U.K. grocers were ready to talk.
They eventually agreed to bear the cost of order
cancellations and to expand the length of their
packaging, which allowed green beans to be
trimmed at only one end. Not only would less food
and fewer resources be wasted, but farmers might
also be able to plant fewer acres.
Small changes in the kitchen can reduce the amount of food
your household throws out.
Businesses, schools, nonprofits, and governments can all find
ways to dump less food.
• Use FoodKeeper or other apps for food-expiration reminders.
• Bring back home economics classes to teach cooking, canning,
and storage basics.
• Switch to smaller dishes to control portions. The standard
plate is 36 percent larger than it was 50 years ago.
• Eat leftovers on a regular night each week.
• Give uneaten food a second chance. Freeze or can extras.
Blend bruised fruit into smoothies.
• Try not to waste water-intensive foods like meat.
• Get your school to join the USDA Food Waste Challenge.
• Ask your local government for a curbside food-scrap collection
service like that provided in roughly 200 U.S. communities.
• Share the bounty of your home garden with your community
through ampleharvest.org.
carrots and
‘No more
“Tristram identified a problem, and he did something about
it,” says Clementine O’Connor, a
consultant on sustainable food to
the UNEP. “He’s been a lone voice
defending farmers from unfair
trading practices, identifying barriers, and catalyzing action, often
in cases where supermarkets and
governments were not aware of the
Feedback’s 2015 report on Kenyan green beans was just one achievement in
a watershed year. By the end of 2015 the UN
and the U.S. had pledged to halve food waste by
2030. The exact mechanisms of this ambitious
goal haven’t been spelled out. But already countries and companies are devising and adopting
standardized metrics to quantify waste. If the
target is met, enough food could be saved to feed
at least one billion people.
On an overcast Thursday afternoon in September, Stuart strides through a muddy field in
northern France. He plunges his hands into a
mound of soil and extracts several
thin-skinned potatoes, which, being the size of thimbles and thumbs,
had slipped through the mechanical
harvester’s grasp. For the next hour
and a half he and a team of gleaners
comb through the soil. The goal is
to gather 1,100 pounds of spuds for
Sunday’s Feeding the 5,000 event,
to be held in Paris’s locus of civic
activism, the stately Place de la République. The next day Stuart and
another team of volunteers from partner organizations wash their enormous haul in a ramshackle
squat in the 12th arrondissement. Standing shirtless in a cluttered room redolent of sweat and pot,
with music blasting, Stuart scolds a woman for
wasting time by scrubbing the potatoes twice.
Feeling bullied, she blurts a two-word vulgarism.
Stuart crows, “That’s what everyone says to me!”
On Saturday it’s time to chop. Gathering at
rows of plastic tables in the square, hundreds
of volunteers come and go over a period of four
hours, dicing roughly 3,900 pounds of potatoes, eggplants, carrots, and red peppers—some
Wa s t e N o t, Wa n t N o t
Feeding a Need
At the Benning Park Community
Center in Washington, D.C., third-grader
Kevin Boyd eats an after-school dinner
provided by DC Central Kitchen, a nonprofit
that trains chefs and provides 11,000 meals
a day in shelters, schools, and other locations. Almost half these meals come from
food that would otherwise have gone to
waste. At the center the students do their
homework and learn how to make healthy
meals, such as smoothies and homemade
granola. “I always tell him, Don’t say you
don’t like it until you try it,” says Kevin’s
mother, Antoinette Boyd.
gleaned from farms, some donated by the Rungis
wholesale market. Mostly veterans of mass production, the helpers shuttle produce from crates
to giant plastic bowls and then to blue plastic bags.
At 5 a.m. on Sunday the chef, Peter O’Grady, a
Hare Krishna who runs a charity kitchen in London, tips those bags into chest-high metal tanks
atop gas burners.
As midday approaches, the park grows
crowded. Musicians perform onstage, and twolegged carrots and eggplants parade and chant,
“No more vegetable waste!” Stuart is absent,
his presence superfluous. As 6,100 diners begin
to queue up, the servers don gloves, hats, and
aprons. At noon Stuart materializes. He mounts
the stage and grabs the mike. He thanks everyone who made the banquet possible, calls food
waste a scandal, briefly links agriculture to climate change, then withdraws from the stage.
But not before shouting, “Bon appétit.” j
National Geographic’s food blog,
The Plate, explores the global relationship between what we eat and
why. Get your serving of the science,
history, and culture of food at
Wa s t e N o t, Wa n t N o t
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content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the
copyright holder’s express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email
articles for individual use.

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