Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story is a food documentary that will leave you being unable to look at your fridge and food in the same way again. Documentary filmmakers, Jenny Rustemeyer and Grant Baldwin have put together a tight and informative look at the issue of food waste. It offers some eye-opening statistics and some real world solutions and delivers a serious message in a fun, easy-to-digest way.
The Canadian couple who act as writers, producers and subjects of this story initially set themselves a challenge. For six months they would be freegans, living on discarded food save for the few occasions they were invited to family and friends’ places. They found the challenge easy as they discovered scores of good, clean, packaged food within its use-by date that was thrown away (and often this was for arbitrary reasons with one example being packaging failing to have French writing on it).
The film features lots of nice food shots in close up. There is also a scene with time-lapse photography showing a capsicum alongside the song Simple Minds made famous, “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”. These are the entertaining touches and flourishes that are presented amongst some cold, hard facts. Like the statistic that Americans on average throw away 25% of the food stuff they buy and that as much as 40% of the food produced in North America ends up in landfill. There are some interesting talking heads with food activists and authors, Tristram Stuart and Jonathon Bloom as well as Dana Gunders from the Natural Resources Defence Council, plus other experts including farmers and sellers.
Just Eat It doesn’t spend much time looking at the food waste produced by caterers and restaurants. Instead it focuses more on households and shops. The former thread is about two everyday people going dumpster diving and succeeding with their project so well that Baldwin actually gains ten pounds during the course of the experiment. Overall this film is a comprehensive look at the issues of sustainability (and this is something that these two filmmakers are no strangers to, as their first documentary was about minimising household refuse).
Baldwin and Rustemeyer’s documentary makes a powerful case against food waste but it also offers it up in a light and entertaining manner. It gives us an eye-opening look at the waste that occurs from the farm to the fridge and challenges our modern thoughts and ideas about use-by dates and the community’s obsession with produce that appears perfect. This vibrant and energetic film is insightful and interesting and will leave you hungry to know more.
Review score: FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story makes its Australian premiere at Melbourne’s Human Rights Arts & Film Festival on May 12 and 20.
For more information and tickets please visit: http://2015.hraff.org.au/event/just-eat-it-a-food-waste-story/