FOUND hopes to reduce food waste and feed the hungry in Halifax

Lindsay Clowes and Laurel Schut, co-owners of FOUND, show off one of their new business cards at the Halifax Public Gardens on Wednesday.

Lindsay Clowes and Lauren Schut of Halifax show off their new business card for FOUND
(Image from www.metronews.ca/news/halifax/2016/06/15/found-gets-off-the-ground-reduce-halifax-food-waste)

After both completing a masters degree in environmental studies, Halifax residents Lindsay Clowes and Lauren Schut began brainstorming ideas to reduce food waste. Focusing on food redirection, they came up with the idea for FOUND, an initiative that collects, saves and uses food that would other wise be destined for the trash.

The first two features of their three-pronged approach to reducing food waste include talking care of unsold produce at farmers’ markets and helping farmers outside the city get rid of unsalable produce by organizing volunteer harvest days. The third approach is to organize urban harvest events, which will see the harvesting of forgotten gardens around the city.

Members of the community are already taking great interest in the initiative. Farmers offer their extra or “unfit for market” produce, and  organizations provide meals to people asking for their rescued goods. Clowes and Schut also plan to preserve unused food to resell.

Read more about FOUND’s story here.

Taiwan Embraces Alternative Garbage Collection Schemes

More from 99% Invisible: “Separation Anxiety” explores how the country of Taiwan has employed alternative recycling and garbage collection schemes that put the onus for reducing waste back on the consumer at the household level. Using a mix of strategies, the country has tremendously reduced the amount of garbage it produces compared to 20 years ago. Strategies include “polluter pay”: charging householders for state-sanctioned, official trash bags (the bigger the size of the bag, the more expensive it is), offering free organic and recycling pick-up, and fining those who do not sort their recycling properly.

Garbage trucks come around to neighborhoods in Taipei and other large cities multiple times a week, and multiple times a day (mostly in the evenings). It is the responsibility of the citizens to be ready when the truck arrives (which heralds its coming with a classical song such as Fur Elise). The garbage truck is followed by a recycling truck with separate containers for plastics, glass, paper, raw and cooked food waste, and more.

The inclusion of everyday citizens in daily flows of garbage removes the invisibility of waste that seems to characterize most “modern” cities. Would reclaiming waste from the margins of society and making it more visible change our current, wasteful practices?

The Real Junk Food Project, UK

There are cafés popping up in the UK and all over the world serving accessible, healthy meals made entirely from diverted food waste! These cafés, run by the incredible Real Junk Food Project in the UK, are run on a Pay As You Feel basis and provide an important source of healthy food for low income residents in the area.

Check out their website:
http://therealjunkfoodproject.org/

And their Facebook site:

The Real Junk Food Project

 

 

UK Fuel for School Breakfast Program

A creative UK organization (The Real Junk Food Project) is piloting a school breakfast program run entirely off of diverted food waste!

“Through our work with Richmond Hill Primary School we have seen how important an initiative like Fuel for School is, not just to stop hunger and kickstart learning, but also as an amazingly powerful tool to educate the next generation about food waste and the environment, in the hope that they can help stop such criminal amounts of waste and hunger in the future.
-Kerry Murphy, The Real Junk Food Project’s Education Co-ordinator

Video:

Read more:
http://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/news/latest-news/top-stories/thousands-of-leeds-pupils-to-eat-food-saved-from-city-landfills-1-7607686#ixzz3zn3WbCZl

Reducing Food Waste in Korea

In 2013, Korea brought into effect the Marine Environment Management Act, banning the disposal of food waste water into the ocean in order to comply with the London Convention. With this new law came a serious crack-down on food waste in Korea. In a small and densely populated country, and one where the standard of living has grown so quickly, waste was becoming a serious problem. New systems were put in place, and now the significance of such changes can be seen.

Residents were accustomed to a pay-as-you-go system for waste, but in 2013  this changed from a flat collection rate to a pay-by-weight system  for food waste. This was put in place for residents, but also businesses and restaurants.

In parts of Seoul, smart disposal systems were implemented where individuals were given ID cards that are scanned before the waste is dropped into waste bins and weighed. In other areas, residents must purchase specific bags that are priced by volume.

“SK Telecom, Korea’s largest wireless carrier, has designed RFID food waste bins with equipment that will weigh food waste to the nearest gram. Photo: KIM GYONG HO / JEJUWEEKLY.COM”

In the neighborhoods where  the smart disposal system has been implemented, Seoul has seen a 30% decrease in food waste.  Filmmaker Karim Chrobog has created a short documentary on the changes in South Korea as part of the e360 video series “Wasted” (the whole thing is worth watching). To get a bigger picture of the changes, you can watch the video here.

For residents, this strict regulation has created incentives to lower waste (or learn some small scale composting skills!), but some might argue that it is excessively strict. No one can argue, however, that it hasn’t made a difference: in a relatively short amount of time, waste in neighbourhoods with a pay-by-weight system decreased their food waste by 30%. Not only is the waste being reduced by consumers, the collected waste is not headed for landfill but for animal feed, fertilizer, or conversion to electricity. These laws also target waste across multiple sectors, in contrast to, for instance, the recent law in France requiring only large supermarkets to donate excess edibles to charities. It’s possible too that, as mentioned in the film, food retailers and restaurants concerned with their bottom line will do more to reduce waste, but also might make more of an effort to connect with charities for the waste that still remains. The changes made in Korea do involve high costs and technology as well as some ‘tough love’ – laying down a stricter system – but it seems to be getting the desired results!

For more on how Korea’s Ministry of Environment is tackling food waste check out:

http://www.asiatoday.com/pressrelease/south-koreas-food-waste-solution-you-waste-you-pay

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/mar/27/food-waste-around-world

http://www.earth911.com/food/south-korea-charging-for-food-waste/

Think. Eat. Save.

Think. Eat. Save.

From the Think.Eat.Save website:

“The Think.Eat.Save campaign of the Save Food Initiative is a partnership between UNEP, FAO and Messe Düsseldorf, and in support of the UN Secretary-General’s Zero Hunger Challenge, which seeks to add its authority and voice to these efforts in order to galvanize widespread global, regional and national actions, catalyze more sectors of society to be aware and to act, including through exchange of inspiring ideas and projects between those players already involved and new ones that are likely to come on board.

We offer the Think.Eat.Save website as a portal to showcase these ideas to provide a one-stop shop for news and resources, and to launch our call for everyone to take action on this global concern.”

ZeroFly storage

While in Canada the biggest portion of food waste comes from the household level, in much of the developing world most waste occurs before it even reaches the market or household. Part of the reason for this is  due to problems with storage. Grains and produce can be lost due to improper storage conditions causing spoilage, but also due to animals or insects. To combat insect pests, the Swiss company Vestergaard has created an innovative storage solution: the ZeroFly storage bag.

ZeroFlyStorageBagBrochureApril2015 1

The bag is polypropylene treated with an insecticide to stop insects from damaging agricultural products. While some may be hesitant about using an insecticidal bag,compared to other methods of preventing or killing pests, this bag leaves less pesticide residue while protecting the grain within from infestation. This product and similar innovations can potentially reduce losses for farmers, improving food security and decreasing food waste.

Find out more about the ZeroFly storage bags from Vestergaard.

Food rescue retail

Former president of Trader Joe’s, Dough Rauch, has opened a groundbreaking new type of grocery store: a non-profit model that tackles food insecurity, reduces food waste, and promotes good nutrition.  The Daily Table store opened June 4, after managing to pass the hurdles of non-profit approval and convincing authorities that wasted food can be safe and nutritious food. The shop is located in the low income community of Dorchester, Massachusetts, and provides access to healthy food at very low prices.

produce at The Daily Table

This new initiative is a major departure from more traditional food charities. It is strongly committed to providing nutritious meals that can compete with fast food in its price and convenience. At the same time the retailer is committed to preventing food waste by collecting donated food and selling it fresh or transforming it into ready-to-eat meals.The shop is challenging cheap, unhealthy calories in a way that is financially and environmentally sustainable while ensuring the health and dignity of its patrons. There are many non-profits that serve rescued food, but the distinction here is that Daily Table allows customers a choice – they are not simply recipients. Being in a retail space enables Daily table to be grounded in the community, provide employment and training, as well as make money to cover costs. I’m excited to see how this project will fare as it employs it’s innovative approach to food waste, nutrition, and food insecurity.

Check out a National Geographic interview on Daily Table with founder Doug Rauch  here, or more coverage from NPR.

The solidarity fridge

Issam Massaoudi, an unemployed Moroccan immigrant, checks out what's inside the Solidarity Fridge. Massaoudi says money is tight for him, and it's "amazing" to be able to help himself to healthy food from Galdakao's communal refrigerator.

The small city of Galdakao (just outside of Bilbao, Spain) has come up with a creative solution for tackling food waste, using a communal fridge where anyone can leave or take food. The goal is not to provide charity, although providing food to the food insecure is one benefit. The primary goal is to deal with excess food. Now restaurants and citizens can leave extra food in the fridge, following some basic rules in order to maintain food safety, and anyone at all is welcome to take food from the fridge. The fridge sits on the pavement with a small fence around it to ensure it’s not mistaken for a rejected appliance.Volunteers are in place to remove any food that sits in the fridge too long, though so far nothing has had to be tossed because the food has such high turnover. It took some time to get the project up and running – especially getting city approval and a public space to use – but it seems to be proving a success, despite some initial hesitancy in the community. Already, two to three hundred kilos of food have been saved from being trash. The project was inspired by a similar initiative in Berlin and now there’s already talk of a second fridge in Galdakao and a similar project in the city of Murcia. Now I just wish there was one in Guelph…

Get the full story here:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/25/solidarity-fridge-spanish-town-cut-food-waste-galdakao

Disco Soupe

It seems like every really awesome initiative to combat food waste that I come across lately has its roots or inspiration in Berlin: Disco Soupe is no exception. Disco Soupe was inspired by Tristram Stuart’s ‘Feeding 5000’ and more directly an event by the Slow Food movement in Berlin (“Schnippel Disko”) as part of the larger protest, “We are fed up!” Disco Soupe is centered in France where most of the events are held; however, events have been held in more than twenty-five countries to date and its ‘open source’ format means it is adaptable depending on the context.

But what is a Disco Soupe?  It’s basically an anti-waste, food rescue party. Anyone can host an event if they adhere to the tenets and spirit of Disco Soupe. Events are free or pay what you want, must use edible but discarded or donated food that would otherwise be wasted, and welcome everyone and anyone in peeling, cooking and eating the food all the while with music playing. A key tenet is also that food safety rules be observed, and no meal has resulted in health problems to date, showing (yet again) that food rescue doesn’t mean compromising food safety. Disco Soupe is fervently “Anti-Gaspi” (anti-waste) and raises a call to arms in the form of large rescued food dinners that are more a musical cooking and eating festival in their atmosphere. Since its start in 2012, Disco Soupe has served 42,000 meals, at 100 different events.

Disco Soupe is a great example of how people can come together to protest waste, but also to form a part of a community, cook together, and help spread the “Anti-Gaspi” gospel to others. If you want to learn more check out their website or Facebook.

It’s amazing what can happen when you get the public talking about the issue of food waste. While Disco Soupes are not enough to end food waste, they pack a serious punch in driving home the magnitude of waste to the public. As our research has shown, people who are more food conscious (which can start by cooking your own food) and more waste conscious are likely to waste less food. Disco Soupe events are a creative tool in making use of retail waste, but also potentially changing people’s food waste habits in a way that isn’t shaming, but rather enjoyable.

For additional info go to discosoupe.org or for something in English you can read more at http://www.shareable.net/blog/disco-soup-fighting-food-waste-to-a-disco-groove