A lot of the food Americans buy goes straight from the fridge to the trash can. Up to 40 percent of our food supply is wasted each year, which is equivalent to about 20 pounds of food per person per month. If we want to find better ways to fight hunger in America, rethinking what we consider waste is a good place to start. That's exactly what chefs are aiming to achieve at Feeding the 5000 in New York City and Washington D.C. this month, Fast Co. Exist reports.

At the food festival, which came to Manhattan's Union Square today, all the offerings are free. Stalls hand out restaurant-quality delicacies like tortes, cookies, and rustic salads. But what's not apparent at first glance is that all the items are made from scraps like the vegetable peelings chefs would normally throw away.

Before bringing the festival to the U.S., the environmentally-focused organization Feedback held similar events in cities throughout Europe and Australia. It was only natural that Feeding the 5000 would make its way to America, where we waste more food than any other nation on earth. In addition to offering a free feast for the public to enjoy, the festival also hosts talks and cooking demonstrations so visitors can learn how to cook less wastefully at home (here's our own list of tips you can teach yourself without leaving the house).

If you missed today's event in New York City, you can catch the next festival in Washington D.C.'s Woodrow Wilson Plaza on May 18.

[h/t Fast Co. Exist]