Two innovative ways to deal with food waste

Progress Namibia - Two innovative ways to deal with food waste
25 June 2018

When we speak about global hunger and ending it, often the solution that is focused on is amping up industrial and large-scale agriculture (the very same agriculture that brought us irreversible top soil damage and loss of livelihoods around the world). And of course the question always arises whether we can produce enough food to feed the current (and growing) population. We forget that the food production today could feed all nutritional needs without problem - the problem is not production. It is distribution. And never are the failings of our economic system so glaring as in the agri-food system. One third of all food produced globally goes to waste. The current loss of food to waste would be enough to feed the nearly one billion people who go to bed hungry every night. It is also not only about losing or wasting food - it is also about the waste of resources used in production, such as land, energy and inputs, water, the list goes on.

I have spent quite a bit of time on thinking about how we have this same disparity in our own country - and how sharing could be done better. One interesting way, started by OILIO (I think), is through a revolutionary food sharing app. These are apps designed to reduce food waste through social networking. After creating an account, you can upload photos and descriptions of foods, such as extra vegetables, surplus canned goods, or leftover meals, that you wish to share (instead of bin). OILIO is even collaborating with cafes and supermarkets, while also positively impacting on business and consumer behaviour.

Another recent story that I saw was about a young trio from the Netherlands who started Instock, a pop-up restaurant in central Amsterdam that serves meals made entirely out of surplus food from supermarkets. They started by pitching the idea to the supermarket they worked for. Then got some more financial assistance and took turns driving around the city three days of the week in an electric car to collect unsold food from a handful of stores. Now, four years later, they run the restaurant full-time, in fact - more than that. The social enterprise collects surplus food from 160 stores across the Netherlands, and has three successful permanent restaurants in Amsterdam, Utrecht, and the Hague, as well as an online shop that sells surplus food to other catering companies and chefs. Not enough? They also run a school food waste programme that offers resources and lesson plans to help teach children where food comes from, why food waste is bad, and how it can be prevented.

I am sure that with some creativity, we could be much more circular in nature when it comes to feeding our nation. Ideas and action, anyone?