Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Meet in the Back; Let's Dumpster Dive!

The crows and the homeless meet nightly
behind the back door of the restaurant at The Hotel’s trash dumpsters
and I don’t blame them. There they can feast on a cornucopia of delicacies,
which includes tarragon chicken breasts based in virgin olive oil,
sautéed basil eggplant, pistachio and coconut brown rice, filet mignon skewers soaked in red wine from the Napa Valley, oatmeal crusted Brie bites and a host of other foods, fresh and cooked, that are thrown out, by the pounds, nightly.

At first when I walked by, I startled both bird and man, but now we've all gotten used to one another and they simply give me a nod and continue scavenging.
They are comfortable with me and I them but I am far from comfortable with the 'effing waste of food in this country!

According to Jonathon Bloom; blogger, activist, founder of
Wasted Food and Culinate and author of American Wasteland,
American restaurants throw away more than 6,000 TONS of food every day.
And as we can all attest, restaurants’ massive portions fill the large plates, our privileged stomachs, and then their dumpsters.
I refer to my homeland as The Land of Lawsuits because that is one of the reasons restaurants cannot and will not box the leftovers and give it to their local soup kitchens and homeless shelters; the fear of being sued. Another part of such waste stems from our American gormandizing of food and our addiction to bigger and more is better. Then, of course, what we leave on our plates is tossed (not composted) but tossed to the crows because after all, out of sight is out of mind.

Well on behalf of Arnie, Mitch, the lady with the leathered skin that reeks of Colt 45 malt liquor, and the black winged birds, I thank The Restaurant for their gifts!
But shit, we got a serious problem here, don’t we?
We need to read, read, read and then take action, action, action.
They’re doing just that in Tucson, Az where Bonny Bentzin and many others at Arizona State University have established a goal for Zero Waste (solid waste and water waste). You can read more through the links I've provided, but basically the food waste reduction strategy includes harvesting food from one’s own landscaping, diverting food waste through appropriate donations, implementing trayless dining programs, monitoring consumption patterns and tracking orders, and the exploration of composting programs.

So our nation wastes nearly half of its own food and I’m certain the last week of each November the amount is more like 75 percent as we pile on, in mile-high portions, extra white and dark meat turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie because it’s an American tradition and we would be freaks if we didn’t participate.

The crows have a peripheral view of The Hotel. The bums also.
But what’s happening behind those pristine doors where the elite sleep and hungry dine is disturbing, not only in The Restaurant but in the other departments as well.
It’s a planet, called Planet Corporate, and I, trailer park girl, have been a chronoaut, for some peculiar reason, for only 7 short, but insightful weeks.
As your trusted informant, I will begin my divulging of Planet Corporate soon.
So sit back, buy a 99-cent download of Secret Agent Man or listen to Johnny’s rendition below, then buckle your belts for the ride to far beyond our galaxy is yet to come…


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