Dive

Brad M. Griffin | May 17, 2010

Youve probably heard about dumpster divingthe subversive practice of gathering tossed goods (usually food) from store dumpsters. Some folks promote it as an act of justice towards the environment (nearly half of all food grown/produced in the U.S. ends up in landfills) and toward the poor (living more simply, consuming less, having more resources to share).

I knew about dumpster diving too, but I didnt know that a Fuller student was creating a provocative documentary about the act right under my nose until I watched the final product recently. Dive: Living Off Americas Waste is a film created by Fuller grad Jeremy Seifert, and highlights not only some grocery stores in my community but also our American obsession with food and the incredible amount of waste that ensues. In particular, Seifert highlights the potential of store waste to care for the poor in our communities. The missing link, as it turns out, is people who make the effort to do something tangible in response. While Seifert had no success in repeated attempts to talk with corporate representatives from several grocery chains about donating expired food to local food banks or other services, he discovered that making a phone call to a particular store resulted in permission to act. The acting involved showing up at the store in person, at the right time, to get the food and then deliver it to the organization he had connected with who could redistribute that food to the hungry.

That kind of action takes effort. Its inconvenient. Its messy (and possibly smelly). But its not fundamentally hard. We may not all be called to (or agree with) dumpster diving. But as I think about tangible acts toward more just living where I am, Dive offers more than a few ideas about ways we can engage a very basic act that weve blown out of proportion and perspective in our culture: eating.

Id love to hear if anyone has screened this film with a youth ministry and what kinds of conversation and action came about as a result!

Brad M. Griffin

Brad M. Griffin is the Senior Director of Content for the Fuller Youth Institute, where he develops research-based training for youth workers and parents. A speaker, writer, and volunteer youth pastor, Brad is the coauthor of over a dozen books, including 3 Big Questions That Change Every Teenager, Faith in an Anxious World, Growing Young, several Sticky Faith books, Every Parent’s Guide to Navigating Our Digital World, and Can I Ask That? Brad and his family live in Southern California, where he serves as Pastor of Youth and Family Ministries at Mountainside Communion.


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