A new category of Superheroes has landed! They call themselves #Food rescuers or #Food Justice Activists and they are here to save the Earth.
Take it literally.
Did you know that 1/3 of all food ends up in the trash every year? Imagine going out of the grocery store with 3 full bags, dropping one and simply not bothering to pick it up!
Everyday in New York City alone, 1 American out of 6 struggles with hunger while 40% of the food is wasted ..
And who do you think are the biggest wasters? Us! Households actually throw more edible food than restaurants and supermarkets!
The good news is there are endless ways to make changes in our homes and our cultures .It’s just a matter of being a bit more creative, generous and curious. At the end of the day, we’ll not only share more and eat better, but also save money and energy… Icing on the cake, we’ll also make new inspiring and like minded friends. Here are a few ways to go:
- Give food the respect it deserves so our children will keep up the good spirit
Did you know that 67% is wasted by consumers themselves, and another 15% by restaurants, while shops and distributors waste 11% of the total ? Want to have an everlasting impact on the planet? Learn what do to with your leftovers and teach your family to take only what they can eat. Aside from the moral imperative of not wasting, we can all curb the emission of planet warming gases linked to agriculture which accounts for 20% of overall green house gas emission ..
Serve your kids small portions, allow them to help themselves (encourage them to take small portions and go back when they are hungry will also help them in gauging their appetite). Buy just what you need (never go shopping on an empty stomach, we all know how it ends ..).
Make an Everything-But-The-Kitchen-Sink meal at least once a week. Clean out the fridge and get creative! Cooking is about creating, not wasting, and this is a great way to make something new—throw recipes and insecurity to the wind and get cooking! If you’re stumped, ask your kids to help; believe me, they’re creative. Vegetable lasagna, quinoa patties, rainbow taboule with all the leftovers of fruits and VG you can dice .. Here are only a few ways to discover all the hidden treasures you have in your fridge :
Another way to contribute to the Zero Waste movement is to stop thinking that only what looks good tastes good. Tons of fresh fruits and vegetable are thrown to the trash every day just because they don’t look good enough. How crazy is that that if an apple is not round enough or a banana not nicely curved, farmers can not sell it?!
At least France (ah, so proud of my home country sometimes!) came with a great initiative that is now replicated in many other countries. Click on the picture and save the Inglorious fruits and vegetables :
2.Share the leftovers
Use your phone !
Have your heard about CropMobster ? it is free service for local food producers “connecting farmers and producers, food businesses, gardeners, hunger relief groups .. anyone!”. Any community grocers, restaurants and citizens with surplus food can make donations to local organisations. Whether your surplus is artisanal bread, organic cow cheese or 1 ton of cucumbers, just post a donation alert and connect with your community hunger relief organisations. This is the kind of alert you’d read:
“Too much catering food at our company. Please come and grab some!”
“I’m looking for an overgrown or underused blackberry patch where I can do some gleaning.Then I’d be happy to share my pickings with you”.
Isn’t it great? The lucky people of Whales have OLIO, which I dream to replicate in every big town of the world: OLIO is a free app connecting neighbours so surplus food & other items can be shared, not binned. The must have for all food lovers and waste haters.
New Yorkers also have #Pareup, that aims to link with supermarkets, restaurants and other food distributors to reduce food wastage. They pair businesses who have unsold food with customers who want to buy it for a discount. Sellers reduce food waste while still making money, and buyers help out while getting great deals on quality food. And everybody is happy.
The American of Food Runners have been dedicating their time and energy to Food Recovery for 30 years!
The Californian organisation is currently delivering over 15 tons of food a week that would otherwise be thrown away. Enough to provide 5’000 meals a day in San Franciso! 250 active volunteers, and more than 450 restaurants, caterers, grocery stores, farmers’ markets and other businesses regularly donate perishable and prepared foods. How inspiring is that?!
Another way to help is to donate leftover food to solidarity fridges.
Make the maths: 100% profit for the consumers, customers, the economy and, last but not least, the environment.
3. Do good and eat (very) good! Choose Waste Free resto
Restaurants are throwing about 15% of their food. No wonder why the most influential Food Rescuers are to be found among Chefs.
Meet with the famous Deutsch Food Rescuers Selma, Merel, Bart and Freke. Two years ago, they were colleagues at the Dutch supermarket Albert Heijn and are now the founders of the famous InStock restaurants. “We saw on a daily basis how much good food was wasted because the supermarket couldn’t sell it. We agreed that something needed to change.
We wrote a business plan and presented this to the board of Albert Heijn. With their support, we started the foundation Instock. Now, two years later, we have a restaurant in Amsterdam, one in The Hague and opening one in Utrecht later this year. We also have a toko in Amsterdam, and we even make Pieperbier, a beer made out of the potato surplus. We already rescued 150.000 kilos of food“.
No wonder InStock is such a success: the menu varies per day, based on ‘the harvest of the day’, so what they rescue on that day. “It’s a surprise every day, for our cooks and for our customers“.
InStock Food Rescuers mission goes beyond their kitchens: they are real inspirers who are notably teaching how to conserve food, running masterclasses and they recently ran a 31-day no food waste challenge.
Quite amazing to think that people are lining up before a resto that serves rescued food (that would have otherwise become waste or trash!).. I have been wondering if this was another hipster fad, but the owners of InStock strongly believe that a social awakening is slowly happening.
Adam Smith, the founder of The Real Junk Food Project totally agrees. He has created about 40 restaurants from collecting the “junk” from households, cafes, restaurants, food banks, and allotments and even food photographers. “We make a judgment on whether or not it’s fit for human consumption, and if we believe that it is, then we’ll use it. If we don’t, then we’ll compost it for our open-grow garden”.
Et voila! they serve delicious casseroles straight from the garbage !
What I love about those café is their concept to “Pay What you Want” : Many of them give customers the chance to work for their food, washing dishes or prepping vegetables in the kitchen.. The perfect PWYW restaurant is like an idealistic society — everyone does their fair share. We are not talking charity, but society, where we are all doing our part. This is what I want to create in our next posting. A cafe where, once a week, people could pay what they want or exchange their skill for a lunch or a coffee.
More and more very famous kitchens and restaurants are now declaring themselves waste-free, whether that be motivated by genuine food waste concerns or a desire to not miss out on the next big thing. By embracing “ugly”and expired foods and putting an emphasis on reinventing leftovers, restaurants and consumers will be turning their focus to minimizing excess.
Take Massimo Bottura , whose restaurant Osteria Francescana has been named the top restaurant in the world by World’s 50 Best. He made the headlines last month for leading a group of international chefs into cooking surplus Olympic Food for Rio’s poorest residents. His catering company produced some 5,000 meals daily using only those ingredients that would otherwise head for the bin, such as “ugly fruit and vegetables, or yogurt that is going to be wasted in two days if you don’t buy it,”
After Rio de Janeiro, Bottura has plans to open the soup kitchens in cities like Montreal, Berlin, New York City, and his hometown of Modena. A lot of other chefs have taken an active stance against food wast such as Tom Colicchio or Dan Barber, the Blue Hill at Stone Barns .
In the Philippines where we are currently living, there is no such thing as food wasting. Restaurants give away, even in those big plastic trash bags. In any party, you’ll always leave with your bag of leftover. I have also been told that pigfarms are buying leftovers from resto. Watch this very short movie, you’ll get my point..
How about you? are you some kind of Food Rescuer too? Take this quizz to find out and let me know 🙂
Care for more? Just follow those links
and some excellent food films to Inform and to Inspire ..
Bon Appetit my friends 🙂