UN World Leaders Ate Garbage For Lunch For A Good Reason

"Food production and agriculture contribute as much to climate change as transportation."

In an effort to highlight the huge amount of food waste that countries produce, the UN served 30 world leaders food scraps for lunch at the UN headquarters in New York on Sunday. The likes of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and French President Francois Hollande ate a vegetarian meal made of produce that typically would have already ended up as garbage.

The purpose of the meal dubbed "landfill salad" was to bring to attention the amount of edible food we dispose of. Also on the menu was water drained from cans of chickpeas, vegetarian burgers made from produce thrown out for low quality standards, French fries made of corn typically used as animal feed, and desserts made of coffee cherry pulp, cocoa bean shells and leftover nut skins, The Huffington Post reported.

"Our lunch was produced from food that would otherwise end up in landfills," Ban told reporters. "Food production and agriculture contribute as much to climate change as transportation. Yet more than a third of all food produced worldwide — over 1 billion tons of edible food each year — goes to waste. That is shameful when so many people suffer from hunger."

The lunch took place after the new Sustainable Development Goals were unveiled. Among the issues it addresses are global hunger and climate change, both of which are impacted by food waste.

Ban also noted in his statement the massive amounts of energy that goes into manufacturing, distributing, consuming and disposing of food. Most of the energy comes from fossil fuels, the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions — which means the production and consumption of food has a direct, significant impact on climate change.

The menu was prepared by former head of First Lady Michelle Obama's anti-obesity campaign Sam Kass and award-winning chef Dan Barber. 

Cover image via iStock/Urs Siedentop