An obscene amount of the food we grow gets thrown away. Some of it has to do with tough logistical issues (e.g., how do you make it feasible for a farmer to salvage those overripe plums?).

But a lot of our food is wasted because, to put it bluntly, we are ignorant and prejudiced. It’s produce profiling: If the fruit or vegetable doesn’t fit the established norm, it freaks us out, even when it’s every bit as healthy and delicious on the inside.

These prejudices — like most prejudices — are deep, visceral, and totally irrational (experimental psychologist Paul Rozin has done really interesting work on this). So how do you work around them?

Reader support helps sustain our work. Donate today to keep our climate news free.

Josh Treuhaft, a graduate student studying Design for Social Innovation at the School of Visual Arts, in New York, had a clever idea. Treuhaft gathered up food that would have otherwise gone to waste and enlisted talented cooks to make it delicious and, crucially, beautiful. Then he served it, with meticulous presentation and linen napkins, inside a dumpster. (Presumably after giving it a good long scrub.)

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 12.12.15 PM

Josh Treuhaft, Salvage Supperclub

“I’m definitely not as worried any more about getting sick from these foods, especially if they’re a day or two past their prime or expiration date,” one of Treuhaft’s guests told him.

Food, fun, and conviviality: They’re keys for opening closed minds.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.