At Taste Before You Waste we recognise that individual impact and commitment to the healthy and sustainable future of the planet comes in many forms. And one of the most important ways to have an influence closer to home is to use your vote to bring into political power parties and individuals that are committed to a sustainable future. Whether you have already decided where to cast your vote, or are still weighing up your options, information is key! So we have searched the manifestos of all the parties participating in Amsterdam’s 2018 municipal elections so you can check your party’s green policies, or be inspired by the innovations of others.

The vast majority of parties have reaffirmed a commitment to the Sustainability Agenda set out by the municipality in 2015, which centred around the five main areas of energy, air quality, a circular economy, flooding and the sustainability of the municipal organisation itself. The most important aims included an improvement in green energy (through energy saving in homes and companies, as well the encouragement of energy-neutral building) and the commitment to only having emission-free, or vehicles that are as clean as possible driving in the city in 2025. The agenda also set a goal of 65% of household waste being separated for useful reuse by 2020, and the municipality itself reducing its CO2 emissions to 45% less than they were in 2012 by 2025. Almost all parties also noted that they wanted to reduce unnecessary bureaucracy that prevents people from making a positive contribution to their environment.

Below we have highlighted not only where the parties have talked about going above and beyond the aims laid out in the Sustainability Agenda, but also the innovative and original green policies they have come up with to keep the city of Amsterdam sustainable for generations to come.

 

 GroenLinks (GL)

Jumping out of GroenLinks’ manifesto, which (as expected) contains a very healthy commitment to green issues, is their opposition to the plans for Lelystad Airport. Believing that the expansion plans for the airport are bad for the climate and air quality as well as the peace of local residents they propose to prevent the expansion through Amsterdam’s position as co-owner of Schiphol Airport. They will use this shareholding, as well as the city’s other shareholdings in the port and the Afval Energie Bedrijf (the company converting waste into energy) to bring more attention to corporate social responsibility.

Not stopping at a commitment to emission-free vehicles in Amsterdam, the party want to make the city centre entirely car free in an effort to reduce vehicle emissions in the city. They will also tackle the gas problem by taking entire districts off gas, transitioning them to green energy one at a time. And in an appeal to organisations like our own, GroenLinks have said that they will join forces with the growing, green, social movement of grassroots sustainable initiatives and circular companies.

Read more about their plans here: https://amsterdam.groenlinks.nl/sites/groenlinks.nl/files/downloads/page/Verkiezingsprogramma%202018-2022.pdf

 

Democraten 66 (D66)

Largely based around decentralizing systems so that more power is given to individuals and neighbourhoods to create a greener Amsterdam, D66 have a few notable green policies that stand out from the other parties. On the energy question, D66 have noted that since there will be an increased reliance on electricity as the city is weaned off natural gas, they will investigate the introduction of neighbourhood batteries to provide local sources and storage of green energy.

Again, in aiming to give more power to the individual, D66 wants tenants and residents of floors without their own roof to be given the opportunity to install solar panels on their buildings. They also want to make the existing Sustainability Fund more available to informal groups – people who want to make a small investment to buy double glazing for their street for instance.

In terms of moving to a more circular economy that decreases waste, D66 have focused on building. They propose that materials that are easily stored during demolition work must be recorded in a public database, which would allow builders to estimate which materials already available for circular construction. 

Read more about their plans here: https://verkiezingsprogramma.d66.nl/amsterdam/programma/duurzaamheid-en-luchtkwaliteit/

 

 Vokspartij voor Vrijheid en Democratie (VVD)

Though VVD have put a focus on improving public transport in the city to cope with the rising population, they stress that car transportation will remain a part of Amsterdam. To this end they want to add more parking spaces in the city (preferably underground) to free up space for pedestrians and cyclists. Residents with over-polluting cars, however, will not be able to receive a new parking permit and the VVD will provide financial support to help residents make the transition to cleaner vehicles.

The VVD also wants to convert the existing municipality sustainability fund into a public-private organisation that includes business and residents working together to a clean, liveable, and sustainable Amsterdam. They believe that this will encourage innovative initiatives from citizens and businesses and contribute to research focused, tailor-made solutions for Amsterdam.

In terms of waste reduction, in the long term the VVD wants to move towards a system where everyone pays for the amount of waste that they throw away, to encourage people to think about reuse and waste separation – though seeming like a strong move against waste production, the SP’s position that this will lead to Amsterdammers dumping their waste in public spaces should be held in mind.

Read more about their plans here: https://www.vvdamsterdam.nl/uploaded/www.vvdamsterdam.nl/files/5a534c1a3f989/vvdverkiezingsprogrammadurfenoptimisme.pdf

 

Partij van de Arbeid (PvdA)

The PvdA are very keen to encourage local sustainable energy cooperatives, working together with neighbouring municipalities to do this as efficiently and effectively as possible. They also specify their commitment to green roofs – making half of our flat roofs green or full of solar panels by 2025 (the equivalent space to 600 football pitches!).

In terms of energy, the PvdA have noted that the imminent closing of the coal-fired Hemweg power station will leave 200 employees without work, and they want to examine renewable alternatives that would give these employees a direct, green alternative to their current employment, helping them get back to work as soon as possible. As more windmills come to supply the city with renewable energy, residents will be invited to take a share in this and themselves profit from the profit, with the hope that will increase feelings of ownership and support.

One of the only parties to talk about diet as a factor of sustainability, they will promote a diet with less animal products and more vegetables due to the pressure that meat production puts on the environment – trying to make eating healthily afforadable for everyone.

Read more about their plans here: https://amsterdam2018.pvda.nl/downloads/PvdA_Verkiezingsprogramma_Amsterdam_2018.pdf

 

Socialistische Partij (SP)

The SP join others in promoting significant green action. Rather than waiting for individuals and corporations, they want to put solar panels on unused roofs themselves. Alongside this they want to create a system where those who have no solar panels or green roofs where it is possible to do so will be fined. They also want to approach all Amsterdammers via a municipal energy saving company that will invest in the sustainability of housing corporations and private individuals. They will make proposals to individuals to make their homes mores sustainable, with the municipality taking over the energy and sharing the energy savings with the homeowner.

Straying from the VVD’s position they are opposed to charging a fee for the quantity of waste handed in by individuals as they think that, in practice, this will lead to many Amsterdammers dumping their waste in public spaces.

Looking to big business, the SP also wants to use its shareholding in Schiphol airport to put an end to the many flights that result from the use of the airport as a kerosene hub. They will also not renew a contract with ING because of their climate-unfriendly investment policy, instead looking for a more sustainable and ethical home banker.

Read more about their plans here: https://amsterdam.sp.nl/standpuntenlijst/duurzaamheid

 

Forum voor Democratie (FvD)

The FvD have not put out a statement with any specific green policies and they recently released an article which argues that solar panels are not economically viable in Amsterdam.

Read about their policies here: ttps://amsterdam.fvd.nl/standpunten

 

Partij voor de Dieren (PvdD)

With a tag line of ‘from ego-centred to eco-centred’, the PvdD certainly state their firm commitment to a greener Amsterdam. They particularly focus on the green spaces in Amsterdam – wanting to increase them to help Amsterdam become more resistant to the flooding that will inevitably come along with climate change. One way of doing this is through connecting nature areas through the existing ‘Nature Network Netherlands’ which in turn increases biodiversity. They also propose an infrastructural solution to flooding in the city – wanting to replace the sewerage system in 2022 to cope with the increased precipitation.

They also point out that the energy loan which is now available to Amsterdammers (which helps individuals make their homes more sustainable) was the implementation of an initiative proposed by the PvdD.

Read more about their plans here: https://amsterdam.partijvoordedieren.nl/dossiers

 

DENK

Credit must be given to DENK, a party only formed in 2015 after splitting off from PvdA, for including such a detailed and extensive green policy in their manifesto. They note that they are not only promoting their green agenda for the good of Amsterdammers, but because the activities of the Netherlands disproportionately create environmental pressure in other parts of the world, especially in developing countries. To this end they are calling for companies that contribute to the demolition of developing countries to be named and shamed.

DENK also points out their concern that the target of 14% sustainable energy in the Netherlands by 2020 (that was set out in an energy agreement in 2013) will not be met. They also, however, think that that target was far too low to begin with. Their alternative objectives will give preference to sun and wind energy with targets of 40% clean energy by 2030 and `100% by 2050. They hope to achieve this through increased taxation of dirty energy and fuel and an improvement of infrastructure and subsidies to make as many homes as possible energy-neutral.

Special mention must also be given to DENK as the only party to put the reduction of food waste as a specific topic of their manifesto – hoping to remove unnecessary rules so that good food is no longer thrown away and encouraging companies to make agreements with charities on food surpluses. In Amsterdam they say that they will support local residents in their green initiatives helping to provide neighbourhoods with vegetable gardens and urban farming as well as making municipal land that is not being used available for green projects.

Read more about their plans here: https://www.bewegingdenk.nl/amsterdam

 

Christen-Democratisch Appèl (CDA)

The CDA do not have an extensive green policy, but note that they want big cities to sit down with the national government, institutional investors, housing corporations and other parties to jointly commit to a plan of action for building sufficiently sustainable, energy-efficient family homes. They also want to encourage cycling in the city and to manage the traffic circulation on the basis of current air pollution figures.

Read more about their plans here: https://d2vry01uvf8h31.cloudfront.net/Afdelingen/Noord_Holland/Amsterdam/2017/2018%20Stadsmanifest%20CDA-G5.pdf

 

Bij1 

Bij1, along with DENK, are another party to mention their commitment to green policies to aid those in the global south. They take a hard line against companies with poor sustainability records – dissolving all ties with those who cannot meet the highest green standards.

They are also committed to biodiversity, wanting to promote afforestation and phasing out chemical pesticides and herbicides. They also are the only party to mention green education – promoting climate justice as a topic in schools and encouraging children to think about sustainability.

Read more about their plans here: https://amsterdam.bij1.org/programma/ 

 

Partij van de Ouderen (PvdO)

The PvdO have not put out a statement with any specific green policies.

50+

The 50+ party have not put out a statement with any specific green policies.

 ChristenUnie (CU)

The ChristenUnie have stated their commitment to a sustainable Amsterdam, and noted the municipality’s important role to play in achieving this. They are promoting cars without emissions and energy-neutral homes as the norm and have committed to the responsible handling of space and landscape in the Netherlands.

‘A lot of times people question whether we even need feminism anymore,’ Tammy Sheldon tells me. But, as she goes on to articulate persuasively, ‘There is simple logic and clear data that indicates that we are a long way from equality in the Netherlands. And that’s not just referring to a pay gap, or to sexual harassment, there’s a whole range of issues.’

It is, indeed, a whole range of issues that Tammy Sheldon, who last year became lead organiser of Women’s March, The Netherlands (WMNL), cares deeply about. Rushing into our meeting apologising for multitasking on her phone, she was reeling from the news of the death of Orlando Boldewijn, a young, gay, black boy from Rotterdam who had been missing for over a week before police were able to locate his body. It doesn’t take long after our interview for WMNL to issue a statement calling on the government and authorities to prioritize LGBTQI safety in The Netherlands, firmly laying bare the fact that LGBTQI individuals face nearly twice the level of violence that heterosexual people face, whilst sending their support to the victim’s family.

I can tell that this recognition, of the multiple and intersecting issues facing women and minorities in the Netherlands, is not something Tammy takes lightly: ‘the simple attitude we come from is that we are always stronger together. We cannot move forward with any kind of tangible change, unless we’re all in this together.’ Of course, it’s very easy to talk the intersectional talk and much harder to walk the walk. As the Women’s March spread internationally from its origins in the U.S. in the wake of Trump’s election last year it has come up against a wealth of, often valid, criticisms. Too white, too rich and too transphobic have been just some of the accusations thrown at its feet.

Tammy in the middle, on the left organiser Cecilia Gomez Engler of Women’s March Barcelona, and on the right indigenous activist Rachel Heaton, A Standing Rock Water Protector, credits: Tammy Sheldon

Refreshingly, these are not issues that Tammy steps around. ‘By definition, if you are in a position to be an activist you automatically have a degree of privilege,’ she acknowledges, ‘You are in an economic situation that allows you to take time to follow an issue as opposed to hold down three jobs, so by definition the Women’s March is coming out of a large base of white, middle-class women. There is no denying it.’ It is because of this that Tammy stresses that that privilege needs to be used effectively, in order to be useful allies to those less able to go out to a march on a Saturday afternoon and wave a witty sign around. A movement filled with performative activism and void of concrete action is clearly not the kind of future she envisions for the Women’s March in this corner of the world.

That is, of course, the strength but also the difficulty of being a part of such a huge, global movement. In order to cultivate a positive legacy for WMNL there is the challenge of weaving through the stray problematic tendencies that tarnish (and can so easily be used to tarnish) the women’s movement. This has to be done whilst pulling together the thousands of threads that have come together to form a hopefully unbreakable social force, and indeed, to use that force to bring about meaningful change in the Netherlands. The fact that Tammy acknowledges (and rejects) the notion that could be seen to arise with some sectors of the Women’s March across the world – that women’s rights were all of a sudden the most important issue on the agenda and that there hadn’t been protests and activist movements worth attending until the disruptive political events of 2017 – is crucial to the success of WMNL going forward.

At the first march in 2017, credits: Tammy Sheldon

Tammy is quick to point out those who have been fighting against inequality long before this most recent wave of popular activism. Poignantly, she notes that before March for Our Lives (the present marches being organised against gun violence in the US) there have been young black women – in the Black Lives Matter movement particularly – fighting against gun violence for years. ‘Not to take away in any way, shape or form what Emma González and the rest of those teenagers have done – they are just awesome heroes in my book, but it does mean that there is this kind of disappearance of people who are already active, and are often doing so with far greater personal risk to their lives, on a day to day basis.’ Tarana Burke, she points out, has been a case in point, having started and campaigned for the ‘Me Too’ movement twelve years before it was catapulted into the mainstream.

It is this kind of recognition that Tammy is promoting in the Netherlands. A manifesto is currently being developed by WMNL in collaboration with multiple activist organisations in the Netherlands, including PROUD (the Dutch Union for Sex Workers), Pink Terrorists (an LGBT organisation promoting the strength of the community) and New Women Impact Hub (who focus on the needs of refugee and migrant women) amongst others. These organisations are jointly working on a document that will be used to bring about change for women and minority communities in the Netherlands. Giving a platform to these voices is one of the most important reasons for this manifesto. ‘It’s not that the world needs another list of demands or manifesto per se,’ Tammy explains, ‘the difference here is people who are not necessarily at the table have a place now to come in.’

And come in they must. The fact that Amsterdam, the largest city in the Netherlands, is without a single abortion clinic for the first time since the 1970s, and the abortion pill is problematically included in the criminal code should be enough to silence any of those who suggest we no longer need feminism. This is not to mention that despite the legality of sex work in the Netherlands propping up the country’s image as one of the most liberal in the world, sex workers are still required to navigate around restricted access to basic healthcare services. There remains a larger income pay gap between men and women in the Netherlands than the EU average. Women and particularly women of colour, migrant women, disabled women, and LGBTQI people are hugely underrepresented in leadership positions in politics and other sectors. The list goes on, and it is clear that the Netherlands cannot rest on its image of progression and liberal politics – something that WMNL clearly has no intention of doing.

But there is an appetite for change, and Tammy is clear in her intention to provide a narrative that is ‘positive, humanistic, inclusive and something other than the fear and the hate that is being pushed by the right.’ There is a huge energy being thrown towards the feminist movement across the world and in the Netherlands, and as Tammy declares, ‘that energy is going to be turned into fuel.’

 

To go along with our crowdfunding endeavor, we decided to start a crowdfunding recipe series! This series will outline healthy, no waste vegan and vegetarian recipes that showcase and outline the use of certain cooking equipment that we at Taste Before You Waste need to buy and use. These recipes will showcase to he usefulness of these appliances and hopefully encourage or influence you to help us raise the money to buy them. In this way we will be able to work with more food and thus prevent more food items from going to waste. We want you to become aware of the foods you are eating and what you are wasting. As a small digression to show you what we are talking about,  I want to point out Wasted: The story of food waste! a movie created by Anthony Bourdain -a famous chef and adventurer – which outlines the absurdity of food waste that exists throughout the world. The aim of this documentary is to involve the cooking community, chefs and restaurateurs to show people that they can make delicious, nutritious and non wasteful meals out of food that most us would throw away. It’s an incredibly smart film, which uses the power and knowledge of the world’s most famous chefs to identify that there is a problem. It seems paradoxical, as most high end chefs and restaurants usually make a lot of food waste, but it is precisely why this film matters. These people are stepping up and saying we have a problem! They are the leading faces in the food industry and so maybe people will listen to what they have to say! Bourdain has put his twist on the movie and without a doubt it will be the fast paced all immersive experience that he always provides in his documentaries and series! So go watch the movie, get inspired and come back to this recipe series. Not only make the recipes that we will present for you, but get out there and make a change in your life, in your neighborhood, city or town and join us at TBYW to support our crowdfunding campaign where you can win some of our ‘merch’ and other incredible gifts. Similarly, be aware of our t-shirt design competition where the winning shirt will be featured in our crowdfunding campaign, so if you design a shirt and support our campaign you and your friends can win and wear that shirt with pride. So without further ado lets talk about the mighty food processor!

As mentioned, one of our most needed appliances in our TBYW kitchen is the mighty food processor! The best friend of any cook or chef and especially any vegetarian and vegan. It is a very versatile machine which can make, dough’s, pastes, juices, crumbs and more. It acts as a slicer, a juicer, a dough kneading machine all in one. It allows us to make wonderfully tasting food for a large amount of people which is exactly what we need at TBYW. The processor is useful in all thee meal stages! It’s very good for starters, mains and desserts! As I mentioned it has an array of functions as it slices and chops vegetables, grinds nuts, seeds, dried fruits and more. It can shred cheese or vegetables, it can puree and mix dough! Thus for us and for you, the possibilities are endless with this machine, so help us get our hands on one of these incredible machines and donate in our crowdfunding page which opens November 1st on YOUCARING, so be there to help us make an even bigger difference! As an example of the usefulness of this machine I would like to present you with this beautiful and delicious dessert recipe in which you can indulge your taste buds for days to come! If you have any cashews lying around and you don’t know what to use them for, this delicious peanut butter teat is perfect for you!

The first recipe of the series is Peanut butter mini cheesecake!

Picture: Eden Recipes

For the crumb:

  • 280 grams of any dairy biscuit (can be gluten free) I used oreos
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil

For the filling

  • 225 grams of cashews (soaked for a few hours or overnight and drained)
  • 60 ml of lemon juice
  • 70 grams of coconut oil (melted)
  • 140 ml of coconut milk (better if you can use the separated cream from the top but the whole milk works too)
  • 118 ml of maple syrup or honey (use 170g of honey)
  • 85 grams of peanut butter (use a natural organic PB crunchy or smooth)

For the ganache:

  • 130 grams of dairy free vegan dark chocolate
  • 3 tablespoons of coconut milk

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 ℃.
    Blitz your biscuits in your Food Processor until you have a nice crumb, then add the 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Mix on low     until blended.
  2. Line your muffin tin with muffin liners or baking parchment. Use one tablespoon of the crust mixture to line the bottom of the muffin liners. Spread the mixture with the back of your spoon until its nice and even.
  3. Bake the crust for about 4-5 minutes.
  4. Add the cashews, lemon juice, coconut milk (or cream scooped from the top), coconut oil, maple syrup or honey and peanut butter to the food processor and mix until its blended and smooth. Your mixture must be perfectly smooth, without any lumps or bits.
  5. Pour evenly onto into the muffin tin, on top of the baked cookie crusts.
  6. For the ganache, bring the 3 tablespoons of coconut milk to a simmer in a saucepan. Once hot pour over the chocolate chips and leave to sit for a couple of minutes. Then stir the mixture together until it is nice and smooth.
  7. Spread the ganache onto your cheesecakes, as much or little as you want.
  8. Top the cheesecakes with any chocolate or PB cups you like and freeze for a coupe of hours.
  9. Take them out of the freezer when ready to eat, let them sit for 10 minutes and enjoy your frozen cheesecake wonder treat!

Wasted Trailer:

 

Today we would like to share some news and information about our crowdfunding campaign. We are petitioning to raise some funds to expand our TBYW reach. The demand for our food and products is high, so we need our supply to grow, but in our current environment we are unable to cater for this increasing amount of people, so we need your help!

We are starting this campaign on YOUCARING on November 1st, to raise money to cover the costs of the new equipment we would like to buy to be able to cater for a larger amount of people and in the process save more food that would imminently become waste. Our target is to reach around €10.000  with which we will invest in some much needed equipment for our kitchen. Our ultimate dream is to purchase a new oven, a freezer, juicer and a food processor. All of these appliances are vital for the activities we do such as our waste-less dinners and catering events. With this extra and new equipment we will be able to take in and work with more food, meaning we will be able to feed more people and contribute more to reducing the problem of food waste throughout Amsterdam while hopefully inspiring people to join our fight. We will offer some surprise prizes for different donations as a small thank you for the donation, as we appreciate all of the wonderful support we have and continue to receive. We want to have as much impact as we can, because after all that is our main aim. We want to make an impact or at least an indent in the enormous issue that is the food waste problem, so by helping us you are helping make a change and by that you are assisting in the fight to curb food waste. This campaign will give us the push we need to achieve what we have set out to do and possibly more, so please check out our campaign on November 1st and encourage your friends to do the same.

Through social media and through the power of the word of mouth kick-starters and crowdfunding campaigns have achieved monumental results throughout the world for other special causes, so we are asking you to help us be one of those successes, even if a little. The more money we raise the more impact we will be able to make. Aside from helping us financially however, what is more important for us, is that by participating in our campaign you understand our message and the importance of reducing food waste both for people and for our planet. Every year we throw away a third of our food production, all this food could be redistributed and given to those in need, which again would have incredible outcomes. Similarly, by changing our diets and our way of consumption we can diminish environmental pressures and environmental pollution which is a direct consequence of the food production. By changing our food habits we directly impact the entire food chain, meaning we can change the means of production and consumption for the better. We can make them more sustainable and less harmful and wasteful! So as you help us through this campaign and through supporting us, we mainly want you to become aware of the magnitude of the problem. So we are asking you to join us in being a part of the solution and not a part of the problem, because together we are stronger, together we can have more impact. We want you to adopt our mindset of wasting less and using food in an intelligent and less wasteful way. We want you to not  just  throw away good food, rather we want you to eat and consume in an smart way, through organic and sustainable produce, by buying less unnecessary food and by being conscious about what you will and won’t consume,  to ease the agricultural pressures on the environment. And even if you are not ready to make such a bold move, you can make an impact by supporting us and our initiative and the initiatives of other food positive organizations.

The TBYW team is working hard on creating promotional content for our crowdfunding campaign!

We hope our campaign, our initiative and mindset inspires you to do better in terms of food and even waste, because we all can and must do better. Don’t get fooled by thinking one person can’t make a difference, because we must make a small start. Every effort starts small and it grows, so be a part of our sustainable non-wasteful tree and help us grow! Help us grow and spread our organization, our message and mindset, because we have to do better. Starting November 1st, check out our crowdfunding page, support us in any way you can, but also look at our page, look at what we do and even if you don’t want to join or participate, get inspired to make a change in your food habits and your food life. Fight for the food you eat and the planet and the people that you live with. Make a small or large donation and help us make our dreams come true, because all we want to do is help. Again we urge you, check our page and encourage others to do the same, see what we do and hopefully get inspired and inspire others to join our fight. Be a part of the crowdfund crowd and participate. We will make sure your little contribution makes a lot of difference, where you can join us in our new kitchen with our new equipment with which we can feed more people and save more food. It is very easy to be overwhelmed by the waste and food waste problem but we must have a cautious yes positive outlook on tackling and solving the problem, so the last thing we can say is never forget: Don’t be bummed, instead crowdfund!

 

It’s 8 o’clock in the morning on a cloudy Friday in Amsterdam. Twelve Taste Before You Waste members wait in front of the Dokhuis Galerie. We’re about to hit the road to Flevoland to visit Bio Romeo, a union of organic farmers.  Because nothing ever happens without unexpected events, one of our cars does not start. Since we at Taste Before You Waste are positive minded people, we stay optimistic and enjoy a freshly brewed cup of coffee until the car is fixed. With a delay of more than two hours we eventually arrive at Bio Romeo.

In the potato field

Once out of the car, we instantly join the farm workers on the potato field. Our task is to remove weeds and throw them into the ditches. We enjoy the feeling of soil under our shoes and wind in the hair. It feels good to be out of the city. It feels even better to make our hands dirty and see instant work progress. Because we arrived later than expected, the lunch break is about time. Krispijn van den Dries, the founder of Bio Romeo, welcomes us at his farm at Zwijnsweg 5 where we eat lunch together.

(c) Mariña Casas

Jessica on the lookout for weeds in the potato field. (c) Mariña Casas

On the farm

While we share our food, Krispijn tells us the story of his farm. His grandfather got the farm assigned after the Second World War. Since 1990 they cultivate vegetables organically. To optimize the growth of their veggies they use their own compost which is enriched with nutrients. Therefore Krispijn is able to harvest between 20 and 40 tons of organically grown potatoes per acre following the principle of good soil – good crops. However, he grows not only potatoes.  Parsley, celery, carrots in all colours, spinach, cabbage turnip, chicory, cauliflower, oats, and parsnip are planted on the fields as well. Krispijn’s palm cabbage and spinach gets delivered to juice bars in Amsterdam. However you will find many more products in Amsterdam made by Bio Romeo. Bio Romeo, which is a cooperation of organic farmers, offers 150 different kinds of vegetables and fruits as well as honey. To get an impression of the scope of this organisation, Krispijn gives us a tour – his dog always leading the way.

(c) Mariña Casas

Every farm needs a dog. (c) Mariña Casas

In the spinach field

After lunch we walk past fields of oats and cabbage. The white and purple clover fields in between them catches our eyes. Krispijns explanation for their need is as simple as genius: They serve as refugium for butterflies, birds and other small animals. Whenever crops get harvested, animals find protection in clover fields. This way of farming is thought through well and does not harm the nature as much as conventional farming does. Speaking of harvesting: It’s time for us to get back on the field. Krispijn needs our help on the spinach field. In between the spinach plants grows also wild spinach. Wild spinach is edible; however customers do not like it due to its comparably small leaves. If wild spinach and spinach would be harvested together, the spinach could not be sold as a first class product; its value would decrease. That’s where Taste Before You Waste comes in. We are plucking the wild spinach and, lucky as we are, we are allowed to keep it for ourselves. No sooner said than done. In less than 40 minutes all our bags are stuffed and it’s time to return to Amsterdam.

(c) Mariña Casas

A passionate farmer explains: Krispijn and the Taste Before You Waste team on his farm. (c) Mariña Casas

Back in town

The time on Krispijn van den Dries’ farm was a wonderful experience for the Taste Before You Waste team. If you also want to get your hands dirty and get some knowledge about farming, just contact Bio Romeo. Helping hands are always welcome. It is even possible to WWOOF at his farm.

In June we introduced a new donation system for our weekly Wasteless Wednesday Dinner.  In this weeks blog post I tell you what changed and why the new system is necessary for the existence of Taste Before You Waste.

You support us!

Long story short: We adjusted the payment system because we need your help. Taste Before You Waste cannot exist without the financial support of all our lovely guests. In fact the Wasteless Wednesday Dinners play a major role in keeping Taste Before You Waste alive. You probably know that we also offer educational workshops as well as caterings. Unfortunately they are not held on a regular basis yet. If you have any ideas on that, please forward them. Therefore we cannot count on earnings through those activities. The stable income from the Wasteless Wednesday Dinners however guarantees our continuity. We could use your donation to pay the rent for Dokhuis Galerie. Your donation comes in handy when we receive the bill to pay monthly costs for social security or promotion material such as flyers and stickers. Your donation spices up stews because sometimes we need to buy spices such as salt which luckily hardly ever get wasted. You support our food pick-ups through your donation because it enables us to buy bicycle tubes for our two bakfietsen if the glass on the bike lane pierced a hole in a tire once again. Of course this list of examples is not exhaustive. Get a detailed overview about our monthly expenses in our year-end report of 2016. There you will also see that our expenses exceeded our income. We had to invest way more money than we earned and therefore we are with more than 20.000 € in the red.

New donation sheet for the Wasteless Wednesday Dinners.

From suggested donation to pay as you can

Previously we loosely defined a suggested donation of five euros for our three course meal. We never wanted to restrict you in your decision of how much is appropriate for our dinner. Now we hand out flyers whereby you figure out how much you want to donate. Within the new donation system we count on your fairness. If you would like to enjoy a free meal, then it’s our pleasure to serve you one.  We do not judge you. However we would like our guests to pay as they can. You usually spend more than 15 Euro on a one course dinner when you go out? Please have this in mind when you consider donating three euros for our three course meal.

How it works

There are four questions on the flyer:

  • How much do you usually pay on a dinner out?
  • How do you perceive your financial situation?
  • Did you waste food in the past week?
  • Do you come to the dinners often / bring new people /promote TBYW?

The answer options to them are pre-made. Different answer options are connected to different amount of points. You can either earn or loose points. The total count of points shows you which price range would be appropriate as a donation for the Wasteless Wednesday Dinner. However it is up to you to decide how much you would like to contribute. Again: We do not judge. We are rather thankful that you are part of our fight against food waste. We are thankful that you want us to keep up our work and support us. You can count on us. However we also count on you. Our guests show their support through their donation, their volunteering, or their feedback.  See you next week at the Wasteless Wednesday Dinner where we show a short documentary!

 

The REFRESH Food Waste conference in Berlin.
(c) Sophia Bensch

In mid may Sophia Bensch, the Taste Before You Waste coordinator, visited the REFRESH Food Waste conference in Berlin. This get-together aimed to connect stakeholder groups who fight food waste.  Two days full of keynotes, brainstorming sessions, as well as cooking together was on the programme. Sophia gives you some insights on what happened at the event, who was there, and what has been discussed.

Taste Before You Waste: Why was it important for you to go to Berlin?

Sophia Bensch:  Luana is leaving Taste Before You Waste this summer. Therefore I will take over her task of representing our organization. I saw the Refresh Food Waste conference as an opportunity to build up our network, to establish Taste Before You Waste and to strengthen personal relationships with like-minded people. We are constantly developing and this conference is a great source of inspiration. Two years ago we went to a similar conference in Paris, which actually kick-started many of our ongoing partnerships, some of which even in Amsterdam.

TBYW: Who organized the event?

Sophia: It was organized by REFRESH (Resource Efficient Food and dRink for the Entire Supply cHain), the successor of the FUSIONS programme (Food Use for Social Innovation by Optimizing Waste Prevention Strategies) which is funded by the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme of the EU.

TBYW: Who participated in the event?

Sophia: On the first day around 200 policy makers, entrepreneurs, researchers, as well as grass-root organisations from all over the EU attended. The second day was more intimate. Mainly grass-root initiatives and start-ups were there. Some policy makers were there as well to get an impression of the ideas of reducing food waste that were developed by start-ups. The focus lay on how to communicate this to the policy level. Day two was easier to make connections and dig deeper into certain topics.

TBYW: What happened at the event?

Sophia: On day one the winner of the Public Award for the REFRESH Food Waste Solution Contest held a speech. The winner, Zero Waste Aiud, showed how to unite people under the topic of food waste. They collect and redistribute unsold goodies from a market in Aiud, which is a neglected Romanian town. They managed to put the spotlight on their hometown because of this contest and the fight against food waste. Other than that there were many keynotes and panel discussions. Among others, the EU commissioner for Health and Food Safety called on the power of the people to take responsibility about food waste. His keynote was the most memorable for me on day one. Overall the format of day one was too traditional for my taste, not interactive and empowering enough. However we ended the day with a hilarious improvisational theatre show, followed by a disco chop. The sun was out, the DJ was playing and we were cutting, cooking and eating lovely wonky veggies together. We had different salads, delicious mushroom stew, fruit salad, and special beer made from bread waste. Day two was even more impressive for me. During the “speed dating” we had the chance to get to know every food waste entrepreneur. Case studies were presented and in brainstorming sessions we gave the entrepreneurs input for their challenges. We ended the conference by making recommendations for policy changes. The cool thing is that foodWIN collected all ideas and presented them to REFRESH and therefore established a direct contact with EU institutions.. Some of our ideas were for example to expand the food waste solution France has at the moment for all Europe, or to disestablish the best before date on food products, which does not refer to food safety.

Read more about the tale of the expiration date in our blog article.

TBYW: What was the difference between the last event and this one?

Sophia: Last time the dynamic was different. I had the impression that it was more professional this time and that I could be inspired by food waste experts and entrepreneurs. The conference was bigger and also included the food safety sector, the food system as a whole, agriculture, as well as scientific research. This year the whole conference was more coherent. Two years ago they even handed out small plastic water bottles, countless tiny plastic cups filled with salads for lunch and at the end of the day around half of all food was left without an alternative destination. Of course all the grass-roots organisations joined forces managed to take everything in Tupperware to the after-party. However the fact that this even happened was ridiculous!

TBYW: What improvements would you suggest?

Sophia: I would hope for more possibilities of interaction on the first day. For me, the actual networking happened during the coffee breaks. Less time sitting, more time interacting!

TBYW: What talk, idea or person stuck in your mind?

Sophia: I was impressed by Tainá Guedes, an artist who works with food waste. Her installation was a glass globe filled with 9 ½ kilogram of bread. This is the average amount of bread one single person wastes per year. Her team prepared spread and dips to eat with the bread. It was powerful to see how you can  feed a whole party with the bread waste of one person. I learned from her that working with aesthetics is essential to touch people’s emotions. If food waste is visually pleasing you feel the contradiction even more: “This is actually supposed to end up in the bin but it looks amazing and I want to eat it”.

You also want to be surprised by how good food waste tastes? Join us for one of our weekly Wasteless Wednesday Dinners at Dokhuis Galerie. We actively fight food waste. Be part of our movement and let us serve you consciousness on a platter!

You can watch a brief video about the conference here:

(c) Roel van Bakkum & Iris Hesse

Some fruits and vegetables should not be stored next to each other because they influence each other’s ripening process. What causes the fast ripening? Who influences whom? Which fruits and veggies are bad neighbours? Find it out in this week’s blogpost. If you store your products advisedly, they will last longer. Subsequently you won’t have to discard food because it went bad faster than you expected. Read, think, and fight food waste:

What causes the fast ripening? – Ethylene

Ethylene is a naturally occurring gas which is odourless, and colourless. Some fruit produce this gas during their ripening process, therefore it is also called a ripening hormone. Its main effect is the softening of fruits and vegetables. Ethylene makes your bananas sweet and your peaches smell deliciously. On the other hand it can cause plants to die. This is due to the fact that ethylene decreases the plant’s chlorophyll. What effect occurs is depending on the condition and characteristics of the plant. In short: For some organism the gas might be harmful, for others beneficial. Its advantage of stimulating the ripening process is commercially used. Tomatoes, pears, and bananas are usually harvested before they are ripe. Under controlled temperature conditions, certain humidity levels and ethylene they can be ripened. This means that they ripe in the same pace which results in an uniform appearance.

Which fruits and veggies produce large quantities of ethylene?

If you keep those fruits close to other fruits and veggies, they will ripen faster. You can use that knowledge if you want to stimulate the ripening process of unripe fruits. Keep in mind: Storing fruits and veggies that produce high quantities of ethylene in the fridge before they are ripe might lead to a loss of taste. Be especially careful with avocados, bananas, and tomatoes. They won’t develop their full taste under cool fridge conditions. That would be a shame!

Which fruits and veggies produce small quantities of ethylene?

You can store these fruits and vegetables close to each other. They won’t influence each other’s ripening process because they do not produce a lot of the ripening hormone.

Bad Neighbours are fruits and:


Be aware of what type of fruit causes others to ripen quicker. Also take a look on our article about how to keep fruits and veggies longer. Last remark on food storage: Separate potatoes and onions! Potatoes sprout quicker if onions are kept close. However, feel free to put apples and potatoes next to each other. Apples slow down the sprouting of potatoes. If you keep this in mind, you will be delighted by their long life and enjoy perfectly edible fruits and veggies for a long time. Tell your family and friends! Help us to spread awareness about unnecessary food waste.

For more detailed information on the fruit ripening gas ethylene click here.

It’s over. It’s done. This is the result of endless hours of work. We proudly present the Year End Report of Taste Before You Waste from 2016. Over the years our mission stayed the same: Serving consciousness on a platter and revolutionise the food system, one neighbourhood at a time. This blog post shows you what we have reached in the last year and what we aim for in 2017.

Looking Back

2016 was a good year.  One of the biggest achievements of Taste Before You Waste in 2016 was that we were certified as an official organisation devoted to the social good. 211 activities such as the Food Cycle Market, Wasteless Wednesday Dinners, workshops, event caterings, presentations, demonstrations and charitable food donations were organized. Within all these activities we saved 11.280 kg of food that otherwise would have been wasted.  Organizing all of this would not have been possible without our 14 interns. Some of them worked 10 hours per week, others up to 40 hours. They were responsible for cooking, hosting Wasteless Wednesday Dinners, activism, transportation, Public Relations, educational workshops, research, photography, or for managing our social media accounts. We are currently looking for new interns from September 2017 onwards. If you want to apply, just send a short letter of motivation and your CV to HR@TasteBeforeYouWaste.org before May 15th. You can get more infos here.

What We Achieved

The food pick-ups and cooking sessions were only feasible because of 80 amazing food ambassadors. On average 71 kg food were rescued per pick up. With this huge amount of products, we were able to organize 35 Wasteless Wednesday Dinners in 2016 where we cooked with 2.485 kg of food. During the 60 food cycle markets and demonstrations that we organised or were part of, we saved 4.189 kg food. Taste Before You Waste held educational workshops in 10 primary schools and 8 high-school classes. We managed 32 event caterings. 21 of them were only cost-covering or even came with a loss for us. Finally we became more active on different social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and LinkedIn.

Food Donations

People often wonder why we do not donate our rescued food to charity organisations anymore. We did that in the first half of 2016. However, unfortunately those charities had budget reductions and therefore could not process our donated food anymore. Due to the fact that new collaborations with other charities were not feasible, we solely donate food to non-profit organisations.

Profit and Loss

In our profit and loss statement we declare our income and expenses. Taste Before You Waste gained money through sales, donations and prize money from the Amsterdamse Universiteits Vereniging. Our total income was 41.231 Euro. However our expenses exceeded our income. Expenses included for example monthly rent, wages, costs for social security, as well as marketing and office expenses. Therefore we closed the year with a negative operating result of 22.617 Euro. In order to optimize the financial situation, the employment of Luana Carretto, the founder of Taste Before You Waste, was terminated. Therefore we now have only one paid full-time coordinator, Sophia Bensch. However, Luana will become a board member in July 2017.

Looking Forward

We are…

  • Aiming for organizing a second weekly Wasteless Dinner. We would like to find a new location for the other dinner in order to reach out to different people.
  • Expanding our team and our positions.
  • Approaching organic shops in order to get a wider range of products.
  • Stabilizing our financial situation. Therefore we are working on membership programmes where people can become regular donors.
  • Promoting our caterings intensely to get more bookings.
  • Installing a vermicompost, also known as worm hotel, in the neighbourhood of our office at Planatge Doklaan.
  • Applying for funding to continue our educational workshops at schools.
  • Looking for a finance intern to keep close track of our income and expenses.

2016 was good; however we will make 2017 an even better year. The mission is to extend our impact and remain true to our current path. We will revolutionise the food system starting with one neighbourhood at a time. Be part of our movement and join us at our many activities! You are curious about the complete Year End Report 2016 of Taste Before You Waste? Check it out here.