Posted on May 30, 2012


Disclaimer: No one is paying me to do this and I don’t have any stake in any of the film companies which produce the films.  No one has ever sent me a free copy of a documentary to view or review, and they probably never will.  The views and opinions I’m expressing here are entirely my own.  Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get started:


The official website: http://www.divethefilm.com/

The filmmakers: Producer/Director/Editor/Camera – Jeremy Seifert; Composer, Producer – Timothy Vatterott; Producer – Joshua Alex Kunau   (See the website for complete credits.)

The studio: Compeller Pictures

Watch it: You can see the film on streaming Netflix or buy it on the official website.  This is the trailer:

Original Release: 2010

If, like me, you’ve never gone dumpster diving or met anyone who has, you probably think it’s disgusting.  (We’re talking food here, not furniture.)  I certainly did.  In fact, when I thought of dumpster diving for dinner I thought of something like this clip from Portlandia:

The truth of the matter, for this group of people anyway, is radically different.  First, they have a few rules, like never taking more than you need and never making a mess.  Some people also refuse to go into areas where the dumpsters are locked.  They don’t go into random people’s garbage cans or sift through partially eaten restaurant food.  If anything, they eat better than I do, and I eat pretty well.

The documentary begins by pointing out that Americans waste 96 billion pounds of food a year.  That is staggering.  In developed nations most of this loss occurs post-production at the retail level and in our own kitchens.  These people are just trying to make a small difference in that mountain of waste.  They choose dumpsters behind grocery stores, which contain huge quantities of packaged food.  They go primarily at night, and most of the dumpsters contain  huge quantities of food dated for the next morning.  In a handful of nights they find enough meat (in great variety, much of it organic and hormone free) to last a year.  A freezer in the garage keeps it from going bad.

Whole bags of lemons, limes, and apples are thrown out due to one bruise or soft spot.  The cleaning and processing they have to do is very similar to the processing I have to do when I’ve been foraging, or when my garden or CSA produces a seasonal glut of this or that vegetable.  It needs to be washed, cut, sometimes cooked, and dehydrated or frozen for later use.  Yes it’s a bit more work at one moment in time, but it saves money and time in the long term.

This documentary opened my eyes to a new way of relating to food.  I do my best to purchase direct from the source, to preserve rather than throw away the food I buy, and to grow my own when possible.  These people do even more.  In addition to controlling their own waste, they consume the waste of others.  While this is not a lifestyle I’m likely to adopt anytime soon, I can understand why people would, and maybe even should.

The verdict: Watch this movie.  It’s only 52 minutes long and you’ll be a more mindful person for it.

Posted in: Reviews