March: American Wasteland

American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half Its Food (And What We Can Do About It)If you eat consciously or care about the planet’s well-being, you’ve heard that cattle produce as much as 28 percent of methane gases (and many cut back on beef in hopes of doing something to save the planet). But landfills produce nearly as much methane gas—23 percent of all methane in 2007, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. (Wanna save the planet? Eat your leftovers!) Though I try to be economical in my kitchen and cut back on waste, I know there’s more I can do.

After reading this month’s selection, we’ll all be armed with ways to cut back on waste. We’re reading American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half Its Food (And What We Can Do About It) by freelance journalist Jonathan Bloom, whose work has appeared in The Washington Post, HuffPo, The Boston Globe, LA Times, and Mother Jones. [March 7 Update: American Wasteland was just named a 2011 IACP Awards Finalist.] (Check out his site, Wasted Food, for ideas on how to cut back on waste, and a 3-part interview Bloom gave for Cooking Up A Story—part 1 is below.)

We’re partnering with Slow Food Birmingham for a joint meeting and panel discussion from experts who can tell us how we can help cut back on wasted food right here in Alabama. (This is the first of two joint meetings we’ll have this year with Slow Food Birmingham; the next is scheduled for September.) You can buy a copy of your book from local bookseller Alabama Booksmith and mention you’re with the Foodie Book Club to get a discount. Join us on Thursday, March 10 (not our usual night, because Tuesday is Mardi Gras).  We’ll meet at 6pm at Forest Perk Coffee, 3328 Clairmont Avenue (across from Highland Park Golf Course) and the location is still TBD (check back soon!). In the meantime, got a creative suggestion for using leftovers or cutting back on food waste? Share in the comments—let’s get it started!

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