(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.

(c) YFM Nederland

(c) YFM Nederland

85 Disco Soups in 35 countries and countless motivated people – be one of them! The first World Disco Soup Day takes place on April 29th and you should join! We from Taste Before You Waste are part of this huge event and interviewed the organizers; the Youth Food Movement (YFM). Heleen is a member of YFM and came to our office at Dokhuis Galerie. While we enjoyed a cup of tea, we talked about Slow Food, the value of products and of course the first World Disco Soup. Read here why the event happens, what to expect and what clothes to wear this Saturday.

TBYW: How would you explain the World Disco Soup Day to someone who has never heard of it before?

Heleen: A Disco Soup is basically an event where you cook soup and play music. The ingredients of the soup are products that otherwise would have been wasted. It is like a party where you come together, cook and raise awareness about food waste.

TBYW: Who came up with the idea of a World Disco Soup Day ?

Heleen: The YFM is part of Slow Food Youth Network (SFYN). Slow Food is a global network about sustainability, taking care of the soil, paying fair prices to farmers, enjoying good food, and caring about biodiversity. Through the Disco Soup we want to get people involved into these topics. The idea was born when I was in Turin last year at the Terra Madre Day, a day where those topics and ideas are promoted. A Brazilian SFYN activist asked the participants of the Terra Madre Day to organize the World Disco Soup on the same day to show that we all stand for the same goals; to show our connection around the world. You are from South Africa! You are from Peru! We are all into food – let’s show that!

TBYW: Is it the first Disco Soup event in Amsterdam?

Heleen: No there has been an event called Damn Food Waste in 2013. That was similar and also organised by the YFM. The Disco Soup originated from the “Schnippeldisko” in Berlin which started five years ago.

TBYW: Why should people join the event?

Heleen: It’s great fun first of all. You are part of a big movement taking place all over the world. You can get to know the YFM, join the network and pitch your own ideas and regional projects. That’s also why we have a lot of cooperations which show that we all care about food waste. The World Disco Soup Day in Amsterdam gets support from Taste Before You Waste, Venkel, Hotelschool The Hague, Instock, De Tweede Jeugd, Bread Cycle, Primo Disco, George du Poisson, BuurtBuik, ResQ Club and BRET! It’s about uniting power and to get people familiarized with the food movement.

TBYW: What is the advantage of TBYW supporting this event?

Heleen: Taste Before You Waste will give background information about food waste and shows the bigger picture behind this issue. You support the World Disco Soup with veggies that otherwise would go to the Food Cycle Market. There will be taste workshops to provide the sensual experience. We need to tell the story together and raise awareness about food waste even after this date of the World Disco Soup.

TBYW: When did you start planning for this event?

Heleen: We started in February.

TBYW: How many volunteers do you need to make this happen?

Heleen: We need about eight to ten YFM activists, all the partners such as Taste Before You Waste and the people from Venkel who coordinate the soup workshops. The idea is that everyone can help to prepare the soup.

TBYW: What is the idea behind combining cooking with DJs?

Heleen: Cutting veggies might be boring sometimes and music just makes everything better. Again, the idea originates from the German Schnippeldisko. We want to have a party with the two DJs Primo Disco and George du Poisson. Their names fit just by coincidence to the event name and purpose. That was not planned.

TBYW: Where does the event take place?

Heleen: At BRET near station Amsterdam Sloterdijk. It’s an outdoor event.

TBYW: What is the bad weather plan?

Heleen: Luckily there will still be party tents from Kingsday that we are allowed to use. That was an unexpected offer. They just want a bowl of soup and two drinks in return.

TBYW: What do people need to bring?

Heleen: People need to bring a bowl, a spoon and any container to take some leftover soup home with them. You could even bring leftover veggies and we will cook with them. Bring clothes you can dance in, an apron, appetite and good dance moves.

You can’t be at the event in Amsterdam? Fortunately the World Disco Soup Day also takes place in other Dutch citites such as Deventer, Maastricht, Rotterdam, Utrecht, Zwolle and in Friesland. You can even listen to the same music as we do in Amsterdam. Check out the global spotify playlist. At whatever Disco Soup location you will be;  all partners of the World Disco Soup Day are looking forward to see you on Saturday. Let’s chop some veggies, dance to smooth tunes and fight food waste together.

Two people, two bakfietsen, one mission: save edible food from getting wasted. Thanos and I meet at 10:30 AM. He is a food ambassador for Taste Before You Waste and usually does the Wednesday food pick-ups. Today he takes me along his weekly route. Our goal is to go to markets in east Amsterdam and collect goodies that otherwise would get discarded.  The meals for the Wasteless Wednesday Dinners are prepared with this rescued food. It is a sunny Wednesday and as Thanos calls it “a good day to learn how to ride a bakfiets”. This statement concerns me because I have never tried to ride such a cargo bike before. After today’s pick-up session I will know how to get such a huge bike uphill; even though it is filled with countless kilograms of vegetables. Remark: Only try this if you are already used to ride a normal bike in Amsterdam. Otherwise you will be simply overwhelmed by Amsterdam’s busy traffic.

(c) Sophie Minihold

Thanos: A happy food ambassador during the Wednesday pick up. (c) Sophie Minihold

The food pick-up
In case you were wondering; my first ride with an empty bakfiets happens without any complications. Our first stop is a bakery where we get – now hold on tight – a piece of chocolate cake!  What a delicious start! The next stop is a Turkish supermarket. The shop owner gives us various crates of salad, green beans, carrots and eggplants/aubergines.  The bakfiets fills up quickly. According to Thanos this has not happened in a very long time. The surplus of food might be due to the changing weather conditions such as higher temperatures. Because the bike is full, we need to get the second bakfiets. Also this rapidly fills up after we visited three other shops. Next step: Navigate the heavy cargo bike to the Dokhuis Galerie. We have to overcome two steep bridges on our way home. Fortunately Thanos supports me during the critical – uphill! – stage. Due to months of preparing my legs for such exertions (ergo riding my bike every day), I am doing pretty well and we make it back to Dokhuis safely.

(c) Roel van Bakkum

Sophia is sorting out red pepper. (c) Roel van Bakkum & Iris Hesse

The cooking
“We hardly ever had so much food before”, says Sophia, todays coordinator of the Wasteless Wednesday Dinner, when she first sees the amount of rescued food.  Iceberg lettuce, green beans, peppers, tomatoes, artichoke, carrots, potatoes, spinach, apples, watermelons are piling up in the headquarter of Taste Before You Waste. Here at Plantage Dokhuis food ambassadors are sorting, washing, peeling, cutting and preparing the meals for the Wasteless Wednesday Dinner.  The food ambassadors are mainly students and Taste Before You Waste interns. Every Wednesday they start the preparation at 2:30 PM. Until we can serve you yummy dinner, some steps have to be taken:

Step#1: Get an overview of the goodies.

Step #2: Decide what can be made with it.

Step #3: Cook it, bake it, broil it, toast it.

(c) Roel van Bakkum

Time pressure and hard work? No problem for our diligent TBYW food ambassadors. They are the best! (c) Roel van Bakkum & Iris Hesse

Due to the fact that we saved so much food during this pick-up, our amazing food ambassadors have to split into groups to do all three steps simultaneously. The distribution of tasks is different each week and relies for a huge part on the amount of rescued food. While some are still sorting products, others are already peeling carrots and cucumbers, or are cutting tomatoes. I ask a girl about her plan for all those tomatoes. Her answer is straight forward “I like tomatoes, and I know the recipe for gazpacho. That’s why the starter will be gazpacho.” Being part of the Taste Before You Waste team means bringing in your own ideas and getting them heard. The food ambassadors are the most essential part of the Wasteless Wednesday Dinners. Because of their hard work you can enjoy meals made with love and support reducing food waste.

(c) Roel van Bakkum

(c) Roel van Bakkum & Iris Hesse

(c) Roel van Bakkum

(c) Roel van Bakkum & Iris Hesse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The dinner
The doors open at 6:30 PM. The chalkboard at the entrance gives you a preview of today’s luxurious menu. As every week, three courses have been prepared. Due to the amount of iceberg lettuce, the main dish is a rich salad with roasted veggies. Even the dessert, yummy carrot muffins, includes vegetables. Taste Before You Waste Dinners are a source of vitamins and you can enjoy it for a suggested five Euro donation. This Wednesday we welcome around 70 guests. All seats – upstairs and downstairs – are taken up  quickly. Now it is not only Thanos and me with a mission; it is 70 people who save edible food from getting wasted, and – let me tell you, it feels really good.

(c) Roel van Bakkum

Happy people and loads of good food at the Wasteless Wednesday Dinners! (c) Roel van Bakkum & Iris Hesse

 

 

(c) Sophie Minihold

(c) Sophie Minihold

Once upon a time… or to be honest it is a common ritual and happens every now and then: You are hungry in your kitchen. You open the fridge hoping to find anything edible and grab one of these yoghurts, far in the back, you already had forgotten about. As a matter of routine, you take a look on the date label of the yoghurt and let out a resentful sigh. Shoot, it happened again! Its “best before” date passed four days ago. Suddenly you are not only hungry but rather find yourself between the devil and the deep blue sea: eating out-of-date yoghurt which might lead to food poisoning or toss it and therefore literally throw away your money? In order to decide what to do, and to free you from the evil date label clutches, read the tale of the expiration date first.

First of all: Your decision between tossing and eating the yoghurt is not that complicated. You should basically judge food by sight, smell and taste rather than by a printed date. Nevertheless you are not alone in your confusion about what to do with expired food. This is due to the fact that we do not produce our own food anymore. Therefore we need to rely on the manufacturer to tell us until when we can eat food without getting ill. As a consequence, various kinds of date labels found its way on food packaging.

The manufacturer decides

A date that tells you when groceries are not safe to eat anymore is in and on itself a reasonable idea. However, expiration labels are not an indicator for that. An expiration label rather tells you until when the manufacturer guarantees the best quality for a product regarding taste, sight and texture. After the expiration date goodies do not instantly become hazardous. The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) show evidence that consumers have difficulties understanding the difference between date labels. In general there exist legally required date marks and labels used for stock control purposes. In Europe date marking is required by law. However what type of date label is printed on products is up to the manufacturer. If consumers do not understand the meaning of a date label, they might toss edible food out of needless safety concerns. The British Government has already made a first step to reduce potential confusion among customers; they reduced the amount of voluntary date marks.

“Best before” vs. “Use by”

The European Union also takes action to prevent food waste. Recent findings by the EU-funded research project FUSIONS show that 88 million tonnes of food are wasted in the EU every year. Therefore, the EU has launched a study devoted to date marking on food labels and food waste prevention. First study results are expected at the end of 2017. Another approach to decrease confusion regarding date labels is education. Best of all, you can take action yourself. Do not be part of this wasteful lifestyle and simply inform yourself about date labels!

  • The “best before” date tells you until when you can expect the best flavour. It relates to food quality, and therefore, is not a safety date. Fresh fruit, vegetables, wines, salt, sugar, vinegar and chewing gums are exempted from the “best before” date.
  • The “use by” date relates to food safety. It indicates the last date recommended for use and is especially important for highly perishable foods such as fresh fish, meat and dairy products. This label is determined by the manufacturer.

The best strategy to flee from the land of confusion, where date labels live, is education. Be aware of the different date labels on products and judge the quality of food yourself. Expiration dates are nice indicators; however your sight and smell are unbeatable. And they lived happily ever after… if they trusted their taste-buds.

©Peg Leg Films

In February the Taste Before You Waste Team said goodbye to old interns and welcomed new ones. This meeting was the perfect occasion for a screening of a food waste awareness documentary. We watched the food waste story “Just Eat It” by Grant Baldwin and Jenny Rustemeyer and enjoyed yummy smoothies made out of rescued fruits .We were all moved by the bluntness of the documentary and felt encouraged to keep up with our work of raising awareness towards food waste. The Taste Before You Waste Team agrees: You should watch Just Eat It! But if you are more into reading about food waste, then you are in luck! Go ahead and read the most important take-home messages of Just Eat It.

Just Eat It is film about the filmmakers Jen and Grant who love food. When they read that one third of all food produced in this world is wasted, they felt discouraged. The producers asked themselves: How much of the food is still edible? Their mission was to survive for six months on food that has been designated for the bin. Just Eat It features interviews with author and activist Tristram Stuart, food waste expert Dana Gunders and journalist and author Jonathan Bloom.

The first day
On day one, Jen and Grant are joking about their future life as dumpster divers, while in fact they do not have to search waste bins for food on their very first day. Grants brother is moving and he cleans his fridge.  They are amazed by the amount off his discarded food that is still edible.  According to author Jonathan Bloom, people in wealthy societies fill their fridges too much. “I had it last night, I don’t want it the next day” is a commonly known mentality with severe consequences. Between 15 % – 25 % of food are being wasted in households. Imagine: You go shopping and fill four bags with groceries. After you pay, you leave the shop and drop one of the four bags without thinking too much about it. You continue walking home with the remaining three bags. Even though this thought is ridiculous it happens every day.

Wasting food and not caring about it? This happens everyday. ©Peg Leg Films

Perfection
People strive for perfection. The simple conclusion of “what look better, tastes better” is fixed in our mind. At least 20 % of food produced is left on the fields or gets discarded just because it is not perfect. Food activist Tristram Stuart reports that truckloads of bananas get scrapped due to the fact that they do not fulfil European cosmetic standards for food. There is no market for imperfect vegetables and fruits, therefore food get wasted. How do we overcome the pursuit of perfection? Keep in mind that what looks differently is not necessarily bad. Our mind-set plays an essential role when it comes to food waste. Imagine you host a dinner. When the dinner is over, there is no food left. Societal pressure keeps you thinking that you are not a good host because you could not be able to offer any food to a guest who has already eaten. This kind of thinking is twisted.

The first month
After one month, Jen and Grant run low on oil and honey. It is getting harder for them to keep up their standard of living. They question their decision of this project. Over the next days they find much more food than they could possible eat. Grants highlight: Several kilograms of dark chocolate. Jen uses a chalkboard to keep track of what has to be eaten first. This is one simple trick how to avoid food waste. The filmmakers do not want to re-waste food. Wasting food affects not only the food itself but rather a whole system. Imagine: If you want to grow apples, you need to buy land. You need to invest in an irrigation system to water the soil for the apple trees. The irrigation system needs energy. After your apple trees are full of juicy fruits, you need employees who pick them. As a last step you sell your apples to customers. They let them rot because they forgot about buying them. How would you feel?

As you saw in the example, food waste is very expensive. Reducing food waste would save a lot of money in the energy sector. Four percent of US energy consumption is used for the food that gets tossed anyway. The reduction in food losses leads to a decrease in the cost of food according to a report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Reducing food waste is not only beneficial from a financial point of view; it also helps to preserve our planet. Wasting food is equivalent to the support of global warming. If aggregated food waste decomposes without air, methane is produced. Methane is a far more potent greenhouse gas than CO2. It traps 34 times more heat than CO2 in the atmosphere as reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Methane therefore has a huge impact on global warming.

Food Waste_Hummus

Grant found an incredible amount of discarded hummus. ©Peg Leg Films

True value
At the end of their project, Jen and Grant have mass quantities of certain foods. The filmmakers are still fascinated if they find food in the bin. At the same time they feel guilty for being excited about food waste. During these six months they spent 200 dollars on groceries. In total, they rescued food with a considered value of 20.000 Dollar. Through the Just Eat It Project Jen and Grant experienced the true value of food.

We from Taste Before You Waste think that everyone should value food as a precious good.  If you do not necessarily want to go dumpster diving in order to take action against food waste, simply come to one of our weekly Wasteless Wednesday Dinners. We prepare delicious meals out of rescued products for you. That way we appreciate the true value of food together.

 

We are looking for interns to come work with us!

Are you interested in becoming a

  • Education Coordinator for our workshops
  • Funding and Acquisition Coordinators

 

Then don’t hesitate!

Send a short letter of motivation and your CV to hr@tastebeforeyouwaste.org!

Meet my Roomies, Red Wigglers!

Compostingworkshop2 2

As the first week of my internship at Taste Before You Waste started alongside the last preparations and the actual taking place of the exhibition A Moment Before, I found myself joining all kinds of tasks in order to get everything in place. Next to preparing food, installing the artworks, getting to know loads of people and simply giving a hand wherever it was needed, I was really lucky to attend parts of the lectures and workshops offered in the course of the exhibition days. I got an instant insight into the systematics behind food waste, a topic I had mainly looked at from consumer perspective so far, but which has so many interrelated dimensions that it really is an eye-opener to listen to experts in the field like Hilke Bos-Brouwers from Wageningen University. It was delighting to stroll around Dokhuis Galerie and look at the wonderful photographs of Uli Westphal & Klaus Pichler while reflecting on the messages they convey. For extra information, you could simply have a chat with one of the artists.

To me, the most remarkable experience of the two days was joining one of the workshops, namely »Composting« by Lea from the Green Living Lab in Amsterdam Zuid. Following a presentation on the theory of composting, we got our hands in the soil and simply built our own worm hotels out of two plastic buckets! The building process required way less time and material than I would have anticipated, but I must say that I was surprised by the number of “rules” required in order to make the worms happy and the outcome – dark, rich soil – perfect. The keyword of the whole process would be “balance” to me: If you only feed the leftovers from your “apple a day” and maybe coffee grounds to the worms day by day, they are probably not going to thrive. In order to make living together with worms as pleasant as possible – for both parties of course -, we learned about the best conditions and location for the hotel, which food is advisable and which not and so on. If you stick to the instructions and keep a good balance in the hotel, no bad odours arise at all. On the contrary, Lea explained to us that if it smells like forest soil, we could be sure to be doing everything right.

16105955_1032988406845722_2080873911691447471_nSo now I have my own composting system in my little studio in Amsterdam, I would never have thought this only a few days ago. Even though I grew up on the countryside and my parents composted all organic waste in order to reuse it as fertilizer for the garden, I never really thought about the potential of the leftovers from all the fruit and vegetables I consume since I live in a city. I guess most people have heard about the bad state of the soil on our planet, due to overproduction and not giving it the time it needs to regain minerals, which leads to critical shortages of nutrients in all kinds of agricultural products. At the same time, tons of organic waste are being discarded every day and often burned together with all kinds of waste. With the help of a handful (literally!) of Red Wigglers, the most common and hungry composting worms, I can now contribute a tiny bit to the natural cycle by reusing these precious resources, even though it will probably only be enough for the plants on my windowsills and balcony.

I am very much looking forward to seeing how the worms are doing and if I can manage to gain composted super-soil from the inside of the old deep frying fat-buckets from Febo. If you are interested in learning more about composting with worms, you might want to take a look on Le Compostiers homepage.

By Jessica

In honour of the Food Cycle Markets, I want to tell you the story of Bobby Banana.  

Photo: Marie, VitaLucida

Photo: Marie, VitaLucida

Bobby was born in the tropics.  He had a happy youth, soaking up the sun’s rays with all his friends.  They chatted and sang, thinking they would live forever.  Until one fateful day, when the banana harvesters came who tore him away from his family.  

He was still a pale yellow colour, too delicate to travel, when they shipped him off to Europe to be sold in the Albert Heijn.  Since then, Bobby suffered from stunted development and a huge sense of embarrassment.  Displayed carelessly in the discount bin, he was forced to appear before the world in his unripe state.  He watched thousands of his unripe fellows go off to their new homes with owners who appreciated small features he couldn’t distinguish – the shine of their skin, or the cut of their stem.  

For some reason Bobby couldn’t understand, he was passed over time and again until finally he was thrown unceremoniously onto the rubbish pile.  There, in the landfill, as the sun came out one morning and the worms started to gather round, Bobby finally earned his spots and died happy, a bright, healthy yellow.

Think about the last time you picked out vegetables in the supermarket.  Both the peppers looked tasty, but you probably went for the one that was more symmetrical, didn’t you?  Or the potato that didn’t have the tiny little beginning of a sprout in the left-hand corner, which you could see clearly if you held it up to the light and examined it sideways (FYI – sprouted potatoes cook even easier and have more flavour!).  

These fruits and vegetables last only a short while in the supermarkets before they get thrown away, because the stores know that people won’t buy them.  This means that every day, thousands of good food gets tossed.  Our wonderful Wednesday community dinners take advantage of this and create veritable culinary masterpieces from the food that was passed over.  But every Tuesday, we give you the chance to do this for yourself, to engage with the food and find your own creativity!

When you hear about a market that gives out free food, you think there must be a catch.  You imagine heaps of rotting root veggies, slimy spinach, aardvark-eaten apples (ok, maybe not.  It was important for the alliteration).  But what might shock you is that the food at TBYW’s food markets is still good.  It’s still quality.  It just happens to have not been “chosen” by the Foodie Experts that are your average-Joe shoppers.

To make things even better, TBYW has the adorable goodwill to match the goods of the week with inspiring spices, to help you brainstorm for your dinner.  As someone who is quite capable of having a full fridge and still not knowing what to cobble together for dinner, I find this ingenious.

Everything in this world is a cycle.  TBYW recently hosted a clothing swap where people could bring in their unwanted clothing and find some new gems of their own.  One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, said every delighted person ever who found designer clothes at a discount store!  

In the same spirit, we encourage you to bring your own unwanted food to the food markets.  Perhaps you tasted one brussel sprout from the enormous discounted package and reaffirmed that you HATE BRUSSEL SPROUTS.  The rest of them are still good, so why throw them away?  We’re not asking for your rotten food – Taste Before You Waste can’t keep everything either, and we aim to provide healthy, tasty options.  But anything long-life you don’t use is welcome – rice, pasta, flour, use your imagination!  (Mine seems to be stuck on carbs, as usual).  At the very least, these things can also be used for the community dinners every Wednesday.

Through sharing ideas and creating a community cycle, we can ensure less things get wasted.  What dishes will you create with this week’s food market goodies?

Photo: Daniswhara Nathaniel

Photo: Daniswhara Nathaniel

Daniswhara Nathaniel is the photographer of Taste Before You Waste and has taken many photos to document the work of the volunteers in action. On the 17th and 18th of January during the TBYW food waste exhibition in the DokHuis some of his pictures will be shown. To introduce you to the man behind the pictures, we asked him some questions about food waste and his work for TBYW.

When did you hear first about food waste and why do you think it is an important topic to tackle as a photographer?
D
: I heard about it in the news. However it did not really present the topic as an urgent issue. It was just statistical, presenting the scale of the problem in numbers. As a photographer, I really like to illustrate the will of individuals to take action tackling the issue of food waste. That it is possible to do more. And that it all starts from you as an individual. Also, I like to show the ‘human touch’ to food. Challenging the presumption food as commodity goods and therefore viewing it only as objects we need to satisfy hunger.

How and why did you get involved with Taste Before You Waste?
D: I knew about it because Luana was a friend of mine in University, and she asked me to document some activities. I thought it was a story worth covering, and I always try to help them whenever they need documentation. 

What was the thing that impressed you the most during the time helping the organisation?
D: The spirit of the volunteers! They collaborate very well, all working for the same cause and belief. 

What is your favourite shot you took for TBYW and why?
D: (See picture above) I feel like it captures the essence of TBYW. It is all about taking action, saving food from shop to shop, one vegetable at a time. 

What was your favourite activity that you did for the organisation?
D: Following them to the insides of supermarkets, into the storage rooms. You get to see how much products, still fresh still completely edible, are about to be thrown away. TBYW then tried to save them and collect them and redistribute these goods. It’s not really my ‘favourite’ activity, but an enlightening one. One simply does not always get to see behind the scenes of the industry. It makes me wonder how much costs are hidden from us.

Do you have future plans that include taking pictures of food waste?
D: Sure. I would like to do more projects that cover grassroots movements trying to tackle global issues, like Taste Before You Waste.

Thank you very much for the interview Dan.

If you are interested to see more of the photographs that Danishwara has taken for TBYW check out the food waste exhibition in the DokHuis on the 17th and 18th of January or Daniswhara’s work in general: https://vimeo.com/danathaniel.