Lidia's Italy host calls to end food waste

Lidia Bastianich is one of the most loved icons in the world of television chefs as host of “Lidia’s Italy.” She is a best-selling cookbook author and a successful restaurateur. Her delicious, inviting, home-cooked meals may seem more like a gourmand’s darling than that of a treehugging environmentalist. But if you thought that was the case, you’d be wrong.

In her end of year blog, (dated December 31, 2010), Bastianich called for her community to join her in committing to waste less food in 2011 and beyond. She states, ” My resolution for 2011 will be a conscious effort to not waste food. This effort will be made not only by myself, but by our employees in our restaurants and retail shops. I will also take the opportunity to share this message in the media, and my teachings throughout the year.”

Bastianich joins a growing movement to decrease food waste as demonstrated in the multi-award winning film, DIVE!, directed by Los Angeles resident, Jeremy Seifert, who fed his family for a year through dumpster diving at local supermarkets, mainly Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. What Seifert uncovered was that more than 96 billion pounds of food go to landfills each year instead of the millions of hungry Americans.  While retailers like Wal Mart have enacted a corporate company-wide policy to ensure all edible food is donated to shelters and food banks, the aforementioned leading “progressive” retailers currently do not guarantee their food waste avoids a final resting spot in overstuffed, environmentally destructive landfills but instead ends up in the bellies of hungry Americans.

According to Bastianich’s blog, the world produces 120 percent of the amount of food it actually needs, and yet as John Robbin’s cites in The Food Revolution more than 1.2 billion people worldwide are suffering from malnutrition and starvation.

Bastianich offers sound advice that everyone can achieve by bringing it to a super local level, “Spread the word far and wide amongst friends and family- we all have the power to make a difference by not wasting food. It starts with us, in our own homes, and at our own tables.”

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Photo: Lidia Bastianich