I’ve been thinking about food since high school. Not in the “I’m hungry, what should I have to eat” sense, but in the “Where does it come from? How did my food get to me? Who is involved in the production of my food?” sense. I was probably not much fun at the cafeteria table. I don’t remember exactly when, but I learned some time ago that America’s hunger problem is an issue of distribution, not of supply. We’ve got enough food to feed everyone, but the food is not getting to people.
In this week’s episode of Last Week Tonight, John Oliver zeroes in where all that leftover food might be going. The totally heartbreaking answer is that it’s going straight to the dump. Food gets thrown out and it gets thrown out for stupid reasons. Some of it is due to culture: we have bizarre shopping habits and misconceptions about food on the shelves. Some of it is due to law and tax codes: for-profit entities have no incentive to give away what they don’t/can’t/won’t sell. (more…)