Today is World Food Day, y’all, and National Geographic has released a special report called “The Future of Food,” with a corresponding longform feature called “The High Cost of Food Waste” that we think you should check out.

The comprehensive digital report and corresponding iPad app feature striking—and sometimes sickening—photos, videos, and infographics that explore issues of food waste and sustainability. Here’s a daunting statistic: 

[pullquote]“One-third [or 2.8 trillion pounds] of food produced for human consumption worldwide is annually lost or wasted along the chain that stretches from farms to processing plants, marketplaces, retailers, food-service operations, and our collective kitchens.”[/pullquote]

This one’s on all of us.

The image below shows the scale of the problem. It depicts the equivalent of 1.2 million calories of uneaten food, or the average amount wasted by a four-member American family each year.

Photo © (Robert Clark)/National Geographic News

The article examines the reasons behind such waste at the residential level, citing spoilage, spills, and table scraps.

At the commercial level, retail food waste is also extremely high. Royte explains that in an effort to best appeal to customers, retailers overorder, throw out aesthetically-displeasing but perfctly-good food, and restock more frequently than necessary. The result? American food retailers waste 43 billion pounds of food per year.

Below, unsold tomatoes fill a dumpster in Asheville, North Carolina. This photo depicts a horrifying fact: 26% of fresh tomatoes that enter the market are never even purchased, let alone eaten, according to a UN estimation.

Photo © (Tim Hussin)/National Geographic

Photo © (Tim Hussin)/National Geographic News

The project comes as part of National Geographic’s focus on issues surrounding sustainability in our global food culture.

Here’s some more fascinating stuff we found on the Internet today:

Meet the Guy Banned From Every Bar and Restaurant in London [GrubStreet]

Coffee Ninjas from L.A. Named Best West Coast Baristas [Eater]

Bad Ebola Prank Causes Berlin Bar to Temporarily Shut Down [Daily Meal]