FOOD IS FOR LIFE, NOT FOR PROFIT - Interview with international poet and activist Ana Elsner

“Wastage of foodstuffs leads to ever increasing prices. As a result more and more people can afford less and less food. Look around and you will see that need and privation are on the rise not just in far away countries, but right here in our own cities and communities. This has got to stop and we must play a part in stopping it,” Ana Elsner

Author of this article is POETRY-JOURNAL
Published on 2012-03-12

Tags for this article:
Consum Distribution Documentary Eco-activist Environment Europe Farming Food Hunger Industry Political action Supermarket United States Waste

Excerpt from a March 7, 2012, article in POETRY JOURNAL

The documentary TASTE THE WASTE (Frisch auf den Müll, Die globale Lebensmittelverschwendung) by Valentin Thurn, had its San Francisco Premiere at the San Francisco Green Film Festival on March 6, 2012. The screening was co-presented by the Goethe Institute. Among the enthusiastic audience was international poet and activist Ana Elsner, who said in an interview with this journal:

“We can no longer plead ignorance of the facts. We must face the reality of having set in place a global food production and distribution system that is tightly controlled by special for-profit interests who promote massive and unconscionable food waste. The disposal and decomposition of these mountains of wasted food damages our already fragile eco-system.”

“The German word for groceries is Lebensmittel - ‘Means for (sustaining) life’. This definition of purpose is being bastardized and re-interpreted as ‘Means for (making) profit’. In a capitalist society one would expect that commerce in consumer goods is profit-driven. However, when it comes to food, which is the essential and existential prerequisite for human survival, and when it comes to the distribution and attainability of food, applying the methods of exploitation and discrimination is scandalous, punitive and bordering on criminal (as in crimes against humanity). Making food unavailable or unattainable, by any motivation or any means (such as destroying it), amounts to condemning people to death by starvation:

Who would directly or indirectly act as judge over who lives and who dies?”

Ana Elsner continues her commentary on the global food scandal:

“Responsibility filters down to the basis of corporate decision-making processes. Consumer behavior is this basis. If you are a customer at supermarket chain stores, that means: You!

If you do not turn a blind eye to this global food scandal, if you acknowledge that by shopping at these establishments you condone the perpetuation of food wasting, if you want to take personal responsibility, then you can be the start of a movement for change. Then you can inspire others to follow your example.”

“What can you do to raise awareness?

Go into your local supermarket chain store. (You don’t have to buy anything…) Ask to speak to the store manager. Ask him / her what they do with the food products they pull off their shelves. Ask if they are, or will consider, donating their discarded groceries to food banks or local organizations that feed the homeless. Then go into the next supermarket and repeat this action until you have covered all the grocery stores in your greater area. Important: Ask your friends to do the same! - What this will accomplish: You might not be able to change the store’s policies right away. But the store manager will report to his superiors that his customers raised this issue. If enough shoppers bring this matter up, management will have to pay attention.

Volunteer at a soup-kitchen to see for yourself what hunger looks like.

For city dwellers: Join an urban vegetable-garden project.”


continued on the POETRY JOURNAL website.

Read the entire article here.


Who is Ana Elsner -

Ana Elsner is a German poet living in the USA. She is a voice for human rights. See her profile in the Directory of Poets and Writers.

Who is Valentin Thurn -

Valentin Thurn is an independent filmmaker and journalist based in Köln, Germany. Watch a video of his interview with Wiener Zeitung.


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