Americans throw away more than $165 billion worth of food on an annual basis. Award-winning chef and new MSNBC food correspondent Tom Colicchio is determined to bring that number down.
In a recent conversation with NBC Universal, Colicchio spoke about the issue of food waste and how our expectations for food to look perfect is actually detrimental: “When you go to the grocery store and pick up an apple or tomato for example, understand that if it looks pristine and perfect it had to be picked way before peak freshness in order to get it to you looking that way. On top of that, it’s likely been sprayed with all sorts of preservatives to protect it during the transportation process. I find that the more blemishes something has, the more flavorful it tends to be.”
In other words, we need to recalibrate our perspective. At DARA Artisans, working with creative individuals around the world continually deepens our appreciation for the importance of challenging conventional thinking to make way for transformative action. For instance, we see a common thread between an activist like Tom Colicchio, who is questioning food industry standards to diminish food waste, and an artisan like Elaine Tian of Studio Joo, who is questioning Western beauty standards to embrace imperfections in her pottery. Whether it’s a blemished yet flavorful tomato or an asymmetrical yet stunning ceramic vessel, sometimes imperfect is better.
An innovative approach is crucial to fostering positive change and creativity on a global scale, from activism to aesthetic value.
Colicchio maintains that de-stigmatizing the idea of imperfect food and eating leftovers will not only cut down on waste, but it will also lead to opportunities for ingenuity. He says, “You’ll…likely have items leftover in your fridge at the end of the week…get creative and whip something up using them! Soups tend to work well for this as you can combine a lot of different ingredients in a non-labor intensive manner.”
Colicchio co-founded an organization called Food Policy Action in 2012 to hold United States legislators accountable for these kinds of initiatives. Food Policy Action strives to change the national dialogue on food policy by educating the public and encouraging citizens to “vote with their forks.” Food Policy Action is the first national organization to publish an annual scorecard that grades lawmakers on congressional food policy votes. Last month, Colicchio submitted a petition to Congress with more than 250,000 signatures demanding labels on genetically modified food.
Since collaborating with Colicchio this past fall on his curated Artisan to Table Collection, DARA Artisans has donated 10% of any purchase from the collection to Food Policy Action. Based on the success of our partnership, we have decided to extend our donation pledge through the summer. We are thrilled to continue to work with Tom and lend our support to his inspiring efforts.
10% of any purchase from the Tom Colicchio, Artisan to Table Collection will be donated to Food Policy Action.
Food Policy Action is a 501(c)(4) organization that works to promote a healthy, sustainable food system through public education, issue advocacy, and publication of the National Food Policy Scorecard. Donations to Food Policy Action are not tax-deductible.
Photos via Food Policy Action