Letter: Come see ‘Just Eat It’

Can you believe that every year in the U.S. more than 133 billion, yes billion, pounds of usable food is thrown away? That’s 31 percent of our country’s food supply and enough to feed 175 million people for a whole year. On a per person basis, it’s about 20 pounds of usable food thrown away every month.

It’s an astounding amount of waste that could be put to use to feed hungry individuals. These tough budget times have us all examining how we use our resources, and being wasteful is not an option. In Alaska, 1 in 7 of our neighbors struggles with food insecurity. By creating more opportunities for unused food items, discarded food can be used by food banks and food pantries to feed those in need.

Certainly we can do better. Last fall U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the first ever food waste reduction of goal of reducing food waste by 50 percent by 2030. And in December the federal government changed tax laws to make it easier for businesses to donate food. I’ve joined with Secretary Vilsack, food banks and other food organizations to launch the “Alaska Food Waste Challenge” by introducing HCR 11, to raise awareness about this issue and to call for action to do better.

Our Alaska Food Waste Challenge is the topic for discussion next week during our second annual Food Security Awareness Week where the movie “Just Eat It” will be shown in communities across the state. This award-winning documentary tells the story of a couple that lives for six months on discarded food and explores our current system of expiration dates, perfect produce and portion sizes, and helps viewers understand how this seemingly insignificant issue is having devastating consequences around the globe.

“Just Eat It” will be shown in Juneau today at Rockwell, 109 S. Franklin St., at 7 p.m. This is a free, family event, and I hope you’ll be able to attend and learn more about how we can all be a part of the solution.

Rep. Geran Tarr, D-Alaska