Tristram Stuart Traces Food Waste Back to the Source

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Waste not: Tristram Stuart, a young British historian, is making a career of writing erudite studies of timely food issues. His first book, The Bloodless Revolution, traced the history of vegetarianism in Europe from the 17th century on. The followup, Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal, traces just how much of the world's food production ends up in landfills, factories, and the bellies of animals who'd be better off grazing on plants than grains.

Today, on KPFA's "Against the Grain" program, host Sasha Lilley conducted a one-hour phone interview with Stuart about his research. SFoodie caught only half of the interview (yes, we listen to KPFA) while driving around the city, and it was a procession of surreal facts: The United States produces two to four times the amount of food it needs ... The citrus industry destroys 20 percent or more of its fruit because it's not attractive enough to sell to customers ... Between 40 and 60 percent of all the edible fish European Union boats catch end up dumped back into the oceans.

Based on what we've heard, Stuart proposed solutions for many of the problems he raised ― such as replacing subsidies for the overproduction of corn with subsidies for carbon sequestration, alternate ways of feeding animals, and better crop management. You can stream the interview from the KPFA Web site or download it into iTunes to listen to as you're taking out the trash.

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