Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $4.62 shipping
American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half of Its Food (and What We Can Do About It) Hardcover – October 12, 2010
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From Publishers Weekly
Since the Great Depression and the world wars, the American attitude toward food has gone from a "use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without" patriotic and parsimonious duty to an orgy of "grab-and-go" where food's fetish and convenience qualities are valued above sustainability or nutrition. Journalist Bloom follows the trajectory of America's food from gathering to garbage bin in this compelling and finely reported study, examining why roughly half of our harvest ends up in landfills or rots in the field. He accounts for every source of food waste, from how it is picked, purchased, and tossed in fear of being past inscrutable "best by" dates. Bloom's most interesting point is psychological: we have trained ourselves to regard food as a symbol of American plenty that should be available at all seasons and times, and in dizzying quantities. "Current rates of waste and population growth can't coexist much longer," he warns and makes smart suggestions on becoming individually and collectively more food conscious "to keep our Earth and its inhabitants physically and morally healthy." (Nov.) (c)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
In one of the twenty-first century’s most appalling ironies, developed nations throw away massive amounts of food while people in remote lands starve. Journalist Bloom documents some specifics about the nature of wasted food in the twenty-first century and calls into question both the economic efficiency and the morality of such profligacy. He finds food crops lying rotting in fields owing to intentional social policy, economic vagaries, and sheer ignorance. In restaurants, portion sizes have ballooned under the mantras “Bigger is better” and “Would you like to supersize that?” And many Americans allow food to decay on refrigerator shelves out of carelessness, lack of meal planning, and sheer ignorance. Bloom has found some hopeful signs that this trend may be waning. Many grocery stores and restaurants dispose of surplus edibles through food pantries and similar charitable outlets. Some socially conscious farmers are trying to revive the ancient practice of allowing the poor to glean. --Mark Knoblauch
Discover books for all types of engineers, auto enthusiasts, and much more. Learn more
Top customer reviews
This book is a must-read if you want to understand the sources and effects of food waste--and what you can do to reduce food waste in your life and community. Bloom extensively researched every aspect of food waste, from California lettuce fields to school lunches to the back rooms and dumpsters of supermarkets. He discusses existing solutions such as higher rates of composting and increased opportunities for gleaning (harvesting left-behind produce) from farms. His combination of journalistic research and first-hand experiences makes for convincing arguments. His sense of humor helps to make a potentially heavy and depressing topic accessible and readable.
If you're trying to reduce food waste in your own home, you'll find plenty of practical tips and advice throughout the book but especially in Chapter 8, Home Is Where the Waste Is. My family is committed to keeping our own food waste to a minimum--and I think we actually succeed--but I still found so much useful information in this book, particularly on what I can do beyond my own kitchen. Bloom's exploration of the broader social and environmental effects of food waste were especially enlightening and add an important dimension to something you might already be doing simply for budget reasons. While controlling your food budget can be an important reason for avoiding food waste and a sufficient motivation in itself, you'll find the wider ethical and environmental reasons both compelling and inspiring.
I wish everyone would read this book so that we can see a meaningful reduction in food waste. It's a big problem that is actually pretty easy to address--a rare combination and a great opportunity to make a difference!
Bloom reveals a dangerous cycle regarding food: We're wasting resources by growing too much, and in the process depleting our soils, using too much fertilizer with negative environmental effects, and depleting our water supplies while we then use additional resources to haul the excess to landfills where it causes further harm to the environment while millions remain hungry. It's a cycle that we need to break - and to do so we need a change of mindset.
Bloom notes that we should think of food waste as an opportunity - and we should take action to harness food waste to feed the hungry while also improving the environment and the economy. He points out that we "devalue" food by providing large quantities of cheap, unhealthy food to our kids - thereby reinforcing the ease of discarding food and perpetuating the cycle noted above. He also shows that with our culture of excessive choice, and with supermarkets dedicated to having fully stocked produce departments at all hours - the result is excessive waste - and this problem is exacerbated by our demand for perfection and uniformity in our produce. It is therefore not surprising to learn that just ten minutes into his first day of work at a supermarket he was tasked with throwing away food.
The key message for readers: We need to step back and consider how we can create so much waste when tens of millions of Americans, and hundreds of millions around the globe, are hungry.
Bloom suggests a new normal in which supermarkets aren't stocked as fully a few minutes before closing time while offering some additional sound advice: "Stop baking so much stuff."
He closes with a list of recommendations on what he would do in an ideal world to reduce food waste, such as establishing a national food-recovery coordinator, creating a national public service campaign, and banning food waste from landfills (which I agree would have a prompt and significant impact on reducing food waste).
Bloom's book is extremely readable, and it makes the problem of food waste personal. It is a "must read" for those looking to gain knowledge of the tremendous problem of global food waste. It will inspire readers not only to think differently about food waste, but to act, and in so doing hopefully spur others to do the same to break the cycle of excessive waste which harms the environment while hindering our ability to help the needy. In short, Bloom provides insight into the need for culture change regarding the way we think about food and how much we waste - and we should embrace that change to help the needy, the environment, and ourselves.
Most recent customer reviews
I bought this for a school assignment so I didn't read the book in full.Read more