Books: Waste: Uncovering The Global Food Scandal

Tristram Stuart examines our wasted food epidemic.

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First, books and movies like Fast Food Nation and Food, Inc. turned dinner into a stomach-churning moral dilemma. Now, with his heroically researched Waste, British author and historian Tristram Stuart forces us to consider what we don’t eat. Americans throw away as much as half their food—billions of edible tons gone to ruin on farms, at slaughterhouses, in dumpsters, and in our own kitchen trash cans.

Stuart nimbly examines “the grotesque scale and gratuitous causes” of food waste, which range from supermarkets’ routine overordering from suppliers to the tyranny of “sell by” labels (intended to help stores rotate their stock, not protect consumers’ health). He then offers commonsensical solutions: Supermarkets might reward managers based on their efficiency in ordering, and governments should impose waste reduction targets on agribusiness and lift bans on feeding old human food to animals. Like the parents who make their kids clean their plates because people are starving in Africa, Stuart makes the connection between your leftovers and others’ hunger: If we quit wasting food, we could grow less of it and stabilize supplies and prices where it’s needed most. We’d also slash greenhouse gas emissions from producing and landfilling uneaten food.

Dedicated to the author’s sow, Gudrun, Waste is most delightful when Stuart writes about his adventures in dumpster diving, canning, and teaching others to “prepare squirrels for consumption.” He’ll eat absolutely anything, including broiled sheep lungs and eventually Gudrun—ears, spleen, and all. People must learn, he says with disarming simplicity, “to buy what they eat and to eat what they buy.”

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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