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Food & Hunger

Is Anthony Bourdain the Next DiCaprio? He'll Tackle Food Waste in New Film

Rich Fury/Invision/AP

Most people know Anthony Bourdain for his snarky quick wit and for having every person’s dream job on the planet: he travels the globe and sampling cuisines from every culture.

He’s tried everything from “putrefied shark that they serve at certain times of the year in Iceland” and three-Michelin star okonomi from Sukiyabashi Jiro in Tokyo to fetal duck eggs on air with Piers Morgan. In Lebanon he met with a Syrian community. He brilliantly explores and exposes societal structures and global perspectives along each journey, chowing down on local cuisine as he goes.

Now Bourdain will add his name to new global challenge — food waste. He is producing a new documentary “Wasted! The Story of Food Waste” with the Rockefeller Foundation , a long-time advocate to end food waste and hunger.

Also lending a hand to uncover the true global scale of food waste is Zero Point Zero Production , the team behind “The Mind of a Chef,” who will be a partner on the documentary project.  

Let's hope the film turns out as well as Leonardo DiCaprio's "Before the Flood,"  which gave an in-depth look at how climate change is ravaging the planet.

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Food waste is not as pretty a picture as Bourdain usually paints through his travels to exotic locations. Yet he’s got the guts and grit to tackle this massive global issue.

In the US alone, 40% of food is lost during production or thrown away instead of being eaten. Globally, one-third of food produced never makes it to the human consumption it was meant for. That costs the world nearly $1 trillion dollars.

If food waste were a country it would be the third largest carbon emitter in the world with greenhouse gas emissions at 3.3 billion tons per year.

It’s a grim topic, one that only the sarcastic dry humor of Bourdain can do justice and spike numbers of viewers high enough to pay attention to the injustice of how much food is wasted each year.

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The Rockefeller Foundation kicked off an initiative to fight food waste earlier this year at the World Economic Forum. Their initiative, called YieldWise, is a seven-year plan in which they invested $130 million dollars to combat the root causes of food waste.

“Food loss and waste are preventable, and solutions already exist,” says the YieldWise campaign.

The documentary is likely to explore some of the problems that developing countries like those in “Kenya, Nigeria, and Tanzania, where up to half of some crops are lost to inefficient harvesting, storage, processing, and time to market,” according to the Rockefeller Foundation.  

The Rockefeller Foundation also focuses on how to change practices in industrialized countries where food waste is more often rejected by retailers and consumers.

Between these two gaps — people in industrialized countries not wanting a bruised apple, and cassava farmers not being able to get their roots to market — so much of the world’s food is wasted.

“Wasted! The Story of Food Waste” will include input and conversations with other leaders and top chefs in the food sphere such as Massimo Bottura, Dan Barber, and Danny Bowien, who each has a passion for zero waste and feeding the hungry.

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The documentary will make its debut first in film festivals in 2017. After that let’s hope the producers are as generous as Leonardo DiCaprio’s “Before the Flood” and share it for free