Indiana Daily Student

LETTER: Bloomington has a problem with food waste

Have you noticed a weird-looking guy walking around campus and town taking phone pictures of food on the ground? That’s me. Our streets are littered with wasted food, so I started snapping pictures whenever I encountered such waste as an ominous reminder of a major social problem.

Wasted food is everywhere. The fact we rarely notice, and even more rarely stop to ponder and take stock, forced me to act. I take pictures of dropped foods and post them on Instagram. I call it “dropped” because that is a neutral term. I refuse to believe all this waste is intentional. 

I am not celebrating or promoting waste, and I am not mocking clumsiness. I am raising awareness about the fact that perfectly usable food is going to waste for whatever reason. 

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What I am mocking, in a sense, is the culture of abundance and excess. I post my pictures with ironic descriptions resembling those made in often pompous culinary shows and food vlogs, accompanied by ridiculous hashtags such as #foodporn. But can we start thinking about excess, portion sizes, needless wasting and the deprivation of some members of our society? 

I call my collection a museum. An apt term, I believe, because museums are collections for remembrance and posterity but also educational purposes. Museums are also for admiration, but the only thing to admire here is how much unnecessary waste we as species produce. I will not advertise my page here by giving the name. If it is meant to be, you will find it. 

I am begging you to think about your choices and what is irrevocably lost every time a meal ends up on the floor.

Food is scattered on the ground Oct. 16, 2021, on East Kirkwood Avenue. Courtesy Photo

I do not know the cause of this problem. Some might say this is expected given Bloomington is a college town, brimming with often careless youth and age-excusable exaggerations. I disagree. Not all youth is careless. We have thousands of examples on our campus of students who are not just aware of problems in the world but are also actively seeking solutions. 

I do not know the solution to this problem. I am only trying to point out the first and necessary step — noticing the problem. It is up to all of us to get educated, look for information and seek out people and organizations already active in solving the issue. There are many around — you just need the desire to find them and learn from them.

— Filip Mitricevic, IU history PhD student

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