The extent of the world’s food waste problem is pretty grotesque: Around a third of all food produced for human consumption each year winds up in the garbage. Countries like France are hoping to make a dent in that with various initiatives like making it illegal for grocery stores to throw away edible food, and restaurants are also finding ways to turn surplus food into meals.
In Canada, an artist is using food scraps that would normally be thrown away to create beautiful — and edible — portraits of animals, reports Mashable. Lauren Purnell documents her creations on Instagram, and the results she gets from using vegetable peels and citrus rinds far surpass anything most of us could do with a paintbrush.
The dark, shiny skin of an eggplant perfectly mimics a penguin’s coat:
The same eggplant — or aubergine, as the rest of the world calls it — makes a pretty fine panda with the addition of parsley for “bamboo”:
A colorful tree frog is made from lime rind, papaya, mango, and blueberries:
Fennel fronds and kiwi become remarkably realistic peacock feathers:
And colorful cabbage undergoes metamorphosis to become a butterfly:
Purnell tells Mashable that her adventures in food art began in college with a humble plate of spaghetti that she transformed into a “tree” using the leftover scraps. She has since elevated her plate to more ambitious designs.
She’s created garden scenes from herb leaves and bicycles from orange slices, but her signature is the hummingbird.