Massimo Bottura (pictured above) is chef and owner of one of the best restaurants in the world. While he may directly feed just a few lucky people a night who have waited months for a reservation at Osteria Francescana (something that is spoofed in the latest season of the Netflix series Master of None), his passion project is feeding the world. He founded the nonprofit Food for Soul to fight food waste and promote “social inclusion and individual well-being.”
He is one of four chefs highlighted in the film Wasted! The Story of Food Waste as examples of people working to find a solution to a problem that is criminal when there are people going hungry around the world. (The others are Blue Hill’s Dan Barber, Mario Batali and Danny Bowien of Mission Chinese, and Anthony Bourdain is the documentary’s narrator as well as executive producer.) “We don’t need to produce more,” says Bottura. “We need to act different.”
Ninety percent of all wasted food ends up in landfills, and that rotting food releases methane gas that helps climate change along. And get this—in the U.S., 10 million tons of produce doesn’t even get harvested!
“Across the country, across the world, awareness is growing on the massive scale of food waste and the far-reaching environmental, financial, and social impacts,” says Kōkua Foundation waste reduction coordinator Jennifer Milholen. “More than 40 percent of food grown in the U.S. is wasted, amounting to an estimated $156 billion annual loss.”
Why is this issue important for us in Hawai‘i? “As Hawai‘i continues to work toward self-sufficiency and food sovereignty, addressing food waste across the food supply chain is a critical step forward,” says Milholen. “The film Wasted! is a wonderful opportunity for us to explore the scope of the food waste epidemic, while engaging and working as a community toward solutions for Hawai‘i.”
Following the first screening, at 4pm on Sunday, Nov. 19, is a discussion with an informed panel on the subject of food waste. We’re excited to welcome chef Ed Kenney, Aloha Harvest executive director Ku‘ulei Williams, Dept. of Environmental Services’ assistant chief of refuse Mike O’Keefe, and farmer Shin Ho of Ho Farms. Kōkua Foundationʻs Milholen will moderate the conversation.
Not convinced you should see it? Read the San Francisco Chronicle review.