Before you even read my review of American Wasteland, I urge you to buy it. Or reserve it at your library. Or put it on your Christmas list. Just find some way to get your hands on it. Because it is truly the most compelling, entertaining, and inspiring book I've read in a long time.
I'm amazed by how comprehensive this book is. Bloom explores food waste at every step of the supply chain: from farms to processing plants to supermarkets to restaurants to cafeterias to the average American home. The amount of food that's wasted in America each and every day-while millions go hungry-is astonishing. Meanwhile, ridiculous amounts of methane are releasing into our atmosphere because of the literal tons of food in our landfills.
Bloom spent several years studying food-waste in depth, and it shows. He worked at McDonald's, a supermarket, and Orbit Energy. He traveled to Britain to meet with prominent politicians. He journeyed to California's vast farms. He ate lunch with students at elementary schools and universities alike. And he visited ordinary households to observe their food waste.
I love Bloom's dry sense of humor, which is peppered throughout the book, and I was really surprised by his upbeat tone. I expected a riveting--but dismal-- story. Instead, I found an eye-opening and hopeful narrative. The last chapter is titled "If I Were the King of the Forest," and it's full of information about drastically reducing our nation's food waste. While it's not realistic for the average consumer to expect to end waste, Bloom offers many helpful tips for cutting down on in-home waste. After finishing the book, I found myself challenging myself to use up odds and ends of food in our kitchen. I will never look at food waste the same way again!
(I did receive a free review copy of this book; however, I was not rewarded for a positive review, and all opinions are my own).