Post by Eliza Barclay, The Salt, NPR Food
Sure, we've got "freegans" in the U.S. — people happy not to pay for food when they can just dig it out of trash bins. But even as awareness of food waste grows, these Dumpster divers are parodied on Portlandia and Funny Or Die for putting their palates where their principles are.
But in Austrian media, Dumpster divers aren't being mocked — they're starring in their own reality cooking show, Waste Cooking.
The show is produced by a group of artists/activists. Show director David Gross, who hails from Salzburg, says he did his first dive there in January 2012 and was shocked by the food waste he encountered.
"Although I was prepared for large amounts, the amount of waste left me speechless," he writes in German on the show's website.
Gross felt that more people need to understand what it means that Austria throws out around 105,000 tons of edible food each year. (Austria, mind you, has one of the most sophisticated composting programs in the world.) So, inspired by reality TV shows like Fear Factor, he decided to team up with cooks and fellow divers to demonstrate the delicious possibilities of all the food in the trash.