National Geographic : 2016 Mar
Waste Not, Want Not 55 Feeding a Need At the Benning Park Community Center in Washington, D.C., third-grader Kevin Boyd eats an after-school dinner provided by DC Central Kitchen, a nonprofit that trains chefs and provides 11,000 meals a day in shelters, schools, and other loca- tions. Almost half these meals come from food that would otherwise have gone to waste. At the center the students do their homework and learn how to make healthy meals, such as smoothies and homemade granola. “I always tell him, Don’t say you don’t like it until you try it,” says Kevin's mother, Antoinette Boyd. gleaned from farms, some donated by the Rungis wholesale market. Mostly veterans of mass pro- duction, the helpers shuttle produce from crates to giant plastic bowls and then to blue plastic bags. At 5 a.m. on Sunday the chef, Peter O’Grady, a Hare Krishna who runs a charity kitchen in Lon- don, tips those bags into chest-high metal tanks atop gas burners. As midday approaches, the park grows crowded. Musicians perform onstage, and two- legged carrots and eggplants parade and chant, “No more vegetable waste!” Stuart is absent, his presence superfluous. As 6,100 diners begin to queue up, the servers don gloves, hats, and aprons. At noon Stuart materializes. He mounts the stage and grabs the mike. He thanks every- one who made the banquet possible, calls food waste a scandal, briefly links agriculture to cli- mate change, then withdraws from the stage. But not before shouting, “Bon appétit.” j National Geographic’s food blog, The Plate, explores the global rela- tionship between what we eat and why. Get your serving of the science, history, and culture of food at theplate.nationalgeographic.com.