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From dumpster to dinner

It’s late at night, and strange banging noises can be heard behind the local grocery store. In the amber streetlight, a basket of loose fruits and vegetables can be seen propped up on the edge of a dumpster. A headlamp-adorned head pops out, throws a couple more bell peppers onto the pile, then disappears again into the abyss of the dumpster.

Griffin Lay has been dumpster diving in Gainesville for years and knows exactly what times the grocery store employees throw out their “imperfect” foods of the day, and swoops in to gain on the haul.

A loose Zucchini, a loaf of bread, a bottle of wine. So many still edible foods ripe for the picking, being sent straight to the landfill. He loads it up in his car and brings it home, where his roommates have set up a makeshift cleaning station. “This food is not ours, its just a product of the waste that’s created by the system,” Lay explains.

“The goal is through documenting all the dumpster diving and showing people the reality of the situation that we’re in that this problem will be solved,” He adds. For now, they enjoy the spoils of a faulty system, not for the sake of selfishness, but to bring attention to the real issue. “There just should not be all that wasted food."

Jordan is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing