Imagine if you stopped grocery shopping and lived exclusively on discarded, expired, imperfect, or otherwise rejected food. In the new documentary Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story, premiering April 22 on MSNBC, two filmmakers take on that very challenge for six months—and dive into the issue of food waste in America, where 40 percent of edible food goes to waste.
Grant Baldwin and Jenny Rustemeyer, both food lovers, explore our food system’s obsession with expiration dates, perfect produce, and portion sizes. Rustemeyer says of the project, “We started to realize that actual edible food was ending up in the garbage. So then, when we heard the statistic that 40 percent of food is being wasted, we hardly believed it. We knew there was some food ending up in the garbage, but we kind of wanted to see it with our own eyes.”
Just Eat It exposes the devastating impact billions of dollars of food waste is having around the globe. When retailers and consumers throw away good food, they also waste the valuable natural resources used in production, such as water. Decomposing food waste is responsible for 7 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to climate change.
Food waste has a social justice component as well. The food wasted each year in the world’s most developed countries could feed the 870 million hungry people in the world. Here in the United States, 15 percent of households face food insecurity, as 60 million tons of food hits landfills yearly.
Just Eat It brings together writers, TED lecturers, farmers, retailers, organizations, and consumers to raise awareness of this important issue. The film premieres on MSNBC on Earth Day (April 22), at 10 pm EDT. Rustemeyer hopes Just Eat It will change viewers’ approach to food: “The easiest thing for an individual to do is only take as much food as you’re going to eat on your dinner plate and make sure you finish it. You don’t have to give up anything or change your diet or anything like that. Just eat everything that you take.”