Monday, February 26, 2024

A meal made by foraged food and served as part of the 2014 Honk! Festival of Activist Street Bands. (Photo: Tony Chung Monotone)

To learn “How to Eat Trash” – which is a possibility for Thursday evening, while enjoying a community dinner made of food rescued from dumpsters – you may as well go to the place most associated locally with the art: Crafts House, an iconoclastic Tufts student residence.

Crafts House spawned not just Maximus Thaler, a 2013 graduate who literally wrote the book on the topic (a cookbook called “A Curious Harvest: The Practical Art of Cooking Everything,” illustrated by Dayna Safferstein, also of Tufts), but Rachael Kadish, a 2015 graduate who sat with playwright Eve Ensler to give her “O.P.C.” some verisimilitude when it premiered at the American Repertory Theater in 2014. Thaler and Kadish are co-founders of The Gleaners’ Kitchen, which educates about urban foraging and caters events with foraged food.

A refrigerator’s worth of foraged food was only a fraction of what was served at Honk! (Photo: Rachael Kadish)

There’s enough food waste locally that Crafts House residents and others have been able to put together communal meals for every visiting musician during Somerville’s annual Honk! Festival of Activist Street Bands in October – and that’s 500 or more people.

“There is enormous waste at supermarkets and restaurants, yes, yet a majority of waste in the U.S. happens at the household level,” organizers say. “This is partially due to cultural-economic pressures which drive overconsumption. Couple this to a culture of litigation whose fear of prosecution drove the widespread use of best-by/sell-by dates, and it’s no wonder people in America are throwing out more food than ever.”

It’s an issue that hits hard at race, class and ethnic and cultural minorities, but event organizers say all are welcome Thursday to “learn how to resist capitalism through your relationship with food.”

The night includes conversation about food, the foraged meal, zines for distribution, a dehydrator display and distribution of maps of local dumpsters good for dives.

“How to Eat Trash” takes place at 630 p.m. Thursday at Crafts House, on the Tufts University campus at 14 Professors Row, Medford.