That Time the UN Served World Leaders Garbage

By Clara Olshansky |
FWX UN LEADERS ATE GARBAGE

© Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

Last Sunday, world leaders gathered at the United Nations to share a "Landfill Lunch," a meal made of items that would otherwise have ended up in the trash. In an effort to highlight how food waste is worsening climate change, the UN brought in a team of world-renowned chefs to repurpose food scraps into such appetizing items as "Landfill Salad" and a burger topped with off-grade veggies.

The garbage-eating world leaders at the event included French President François Hollande and Peruvian President Ollanta Humala, among others. The menu was the combined work of Sam Kass, a former White House chef who worked with Michelle Obama on the "Let's Move" campaign to fight obesity, and Dan Barber, an anti–food waste advocate who co-owns New York's Blue Hill restaurant.

Despite looking absolutely delicious, the meal was totally sourced from discarded materials. The Landfill Salad was assembled from chickpea water, parts of vegetables that would normally be discarded and rejected fruits. The main course was a burger on a "repurposed bread bun," topped with bruised beet ketchup and the would-be rejected ends of a cucumber.

The idea was to redefine what we consider waste, so that less perfectly viable food would be discarded every day. Said Barber, “The Westernised conception of a plate of food is enormously wasteful because we’ve been able to afford waste." He hopes this meal will be an effective way of bringing the issue to the attention of the 30 world leaders at the summit. He believes that change can come "by making these world leaders have a delicious meal that will make them think about spreading that message."

Related: How Ugly Carrots and Monkfish Heads Could Change the World 
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