New Toronto Food Festival Has a Serious Trash Problem

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Trashed & Wasted debuts this March with a powerful message on food waste.

When you think of food festivals, you probably think of exotic delicacies, soul-nourishing comfort foods, quirky themes, and hours of culinary indulgence—satiating your appetites and pushing the limits on caloric consumption. When you think of food festivals, you probably don't think of trash. But Trashed & Wasted, the newest addition to Toronto's festival lineup this year, is about to change all that.

Debuting on March 1, Trashed & Wasted is a charity event designed to raise awareness around food waste—bringing together local chefs, brewers, and other culinary and drinks experts for an inspiring evening themed around repurposing and reusing items that may once have been destined for the trash pile. Think: transforming stale bread into booze and other cool food waste-reduction hacks.

"We don't expect you to distill your own milk vodka," the festival organizater Brock Shepherd told Metro News, "but you can cut down your waste at home."

Over the past few years, campaigns targeting food waste have sprung up around the world—snack food companies are taking sad potatoes and turning them into delicious chips, food rescue orgs are turning old loaves of bread into beer, tech companies are launching apps that help restaurants sell their daily leftovers (in lieu of tossing buffet-fulls of food), and activists in the United States and in Europe are working on educating consumers about physically unattractive produce (it's what's on the inside that counts, guys, we all know that).

Stats from the Food and Agriculture Organization at the United Nations show that about "one-third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year gets lost or wasted." One-third! And, even more alarmingly, "every year, consumers in rich countries waste almost as much food as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa."

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