Jesselyn Kenduck, Guest Writer

A United Nations statistic from 2013 revealed that one-third of food produced internationally is wasted.

The proportion is higher in the United States — 40 percent of U.S. food ends up in landfills.

Unsettled by these numbers, MediaLab students Amanda Brasgalla and Taylor Lunka set out to create a documentary about food waste worldwide.

From recycling initiatives to encouraging the student body to serve their communities, Pacific Lutheran University is known for its efforts in sustainability, conservation and care. These calls to action are prevalent in the mission statement and culture of PLU.

When thinking about the idea of waste, though, one often thinks of water, energy and other natural resources. It seems that the world forgets that food is also a resource that is often misused.

As humans, all are connected by the need for food and responsible for waste of this resource. Food is first and foremost seen as a social problem, with nearly 50 million Americans facing food insecurity according to Feeding America.

It also stands as an economic and environmental issue. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, uneaten food that goes into landfills adds a large amount of methane to the atmosphere, a greenhouse gas that is more damaging than carbon dioxide.

The MediaLab project “Waste Not” will tackle this issue by exploring some surprisingly simple solutions. This will include education about waste, as well as establishing awareness within students about the amount of food purchased in The Commons during All-You-Care-To-Eat meals.

The production team, comprised of senior producers Brasgalla, Lunka, chief videographer Olivia Ash, assistant producer Evan Heringer and faculty adviser Dr. Robert Marshall Wells, have been working for almost a year.

The project has taken them across the U.S., through parts of Canada and to London. During their travels they spoke with professors, farmers, food industry experts and local citizens about food waste and the problems it causes.

“‘Waste Not’ is so much more than just another documentary,” Lunka said.“It is a topic that affects us all and will force us to take notice of the issue. It will change your views on food drastically.”

The premiere of “Waste Not” will be held at 3 p.m. Nov. 8 at the Broadway Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Tacoma. Admission is free. More information can be found on the “Waste Not” website, ◼︎

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