Recycled Food May Come to a Cafe Near You

Food waste is at an all time high in the United States, with anywhere between 30 and fifty percent of all food produced going into the garbage before ever touching a plate. One Tufts University student hopes to take a stab at that statistic, offering free food taken from dumpsters outside grocery stores and serving them in a café.

Maximus Thaler has already formed a Kickstarter page to finance his endeavor, hoping to raise $1,500 to open a café that will exclusively serve discarded food. In just one Massachusetts supermarket Thaler found a slew of trendy food including turkey meatballs, organic Greek yogurt and fair trade coffee.

“We believe food is a fundamental right, and should be shared freely with all,” Thaler’s group wrote on the café’s Kickstarter page, which will be called Gleaners Kitchen. The term ‘gleaning’ was used to describe collecting leftover crops from farmers’ fields after they had already been commercially harvested. Today gleaning refers to the collection of food from supermarkets that would ordinarily be thrown away.

This café will go beyond simply serving recycled food, but will act as a community hub hosting concerts, poetry readings, lectures and one meal a day for the hungry. Thaler and his group dig through grocery store dumpsters and separate and wash the usable food. Juices can easily be made from the produce, and they even use hummus containers as Tupperware.

According to Thaler, “The Gleaner’s Kitchen is not a business. It is not the place of commerce you might think it to be, where you pay something to get something. Our aim is not to produce commodities but to foster community.”

For those looking to become a part of the initiative, Thaler has pledged to fly anywhere in the world, go dumpster diving and cook a meal for anyone who donates $1,500 or more to his Kickstarter page.

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