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World Disco Soup Day 2019

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor fill bellies not bins

Code Orange! © Pebble Magazine

The 27th of April is the day that for 364 days a year, the Dutch are patiently waiting for: Kingsday. On this day the streets turn orange, people awake from their hibernation, crawl out of their caves, pet the dust off of their summer jackets and hit the streets where orange flags, beers, music and flea markets await.

Taste Before You Waste will not let this day go by unnoticed. We will join forces with the Slow Food Youth Network, Café de Ceuvel, Food Circle, Sapient Social & Environmental Enterprises, Guerilla Kitchen Amsterdam and Healthy and Affordable and turn Kingsday into World Disco Soup Day.

What?

World Disco Soup Day started seven years ago in Berlin as a protest soup where 8000 people were given sous from rescued products (Slow Food, n.d.). The protest soups soon began to spread to ask attention for a pressing problem: our failing food system. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, over one-third of all the global production of food for human consumption is wasted (around 1.3 billion tons annually) while at the same time, 840 million people suffer from hunger, globally (FAO, 2015). Not only does the actual food go to waste, also think of all the energy, land, water, seeds and labour that is lost!

 

 

The idea of organizing a protest soup was soon picked up by the Slow Food Youth Network in Brazil. The Slow Food Youth Network, a non-profit organisation that fights for a more fair and sustainable food system, took on the concept and organized a national Disco Soup Day. The snowball effect that followed caused the World Disco Soup Day to grow out to be one of the biggest internationally organized events that fight food waste and in the extension of that; impacts of climate change.

All over the world, youth addresses the problem of food waste by collecting food that would be wasted but was still perfectly fine to use. Delicious soups were created from the rescued food, and a disco element was added. Because why not celebrate that wasted food actually tastes great, while collectively contributing to the battle against food waste?

 

 

World Disco Soup Day 27th April, 2019

This Kingsday-edition, the collective of organisations that were listed above will dance to the music of DJ Stefnitz, listen to the jokes of MC Benji B and taste the soups made by you, the welcome guests! Join the event and eat the soups, all for free.

To prepare for our kingsday-edition of World Disco Soup Day we need your help and ask you to take part in our #soupchallenge. Share one of your favorite soup recipes and tag #verspillingsvrij #wdsd19 #sfyn #samentegenvoedselverspilling #votewithyourfork #fillbelliesnotbins @sfynamsterdam @slowfoodyouthnetwork @deceuvel @tbyw.  

We recommend you to use as many rescued vegetables as possible and your soup might be the inspiration for the soup of the day at World Disco Soup Day. So: post your recipe, post a photo of the dish and insert the tags and if your soup is chosen, it will be made and served to all the party people at the Ceuvel!  

 

We are super excited for this day full of great, rescued food and dancing. Join use and let’s get wasted!

© Nancy Standlee

Today was a good day. I ate the leftovers from yesterday’s pie, yum! still delicious! I didn’t throw out or waste any food, well only the orange peels from this morning’s breakfast. So, for today my food waste CO2 emissions are low, so tonight I’ll have sweet waste free dreams! XoX

Let me explain. A couple of weeks back, while I was researching on food waste related topics, I came across ‘The Food Waste Calculator for households’ (FAO, 2013). This initiative is part of the European Week for Waste Reduction (EWWR) which usually takes place in the last week of November each year. Now, I didn’t really want to wait eight months to write about this, so I decided to go ahead and fill my food waste diary for seven days.

It turned out to be a pretty simple thing to do. I downloaded the excel file from the EWWR website, I read though the instructions and filled in my details. After that I started to keep track of my food waste. All I needed was a balance to weigh the food waste, and a piece of paper to list the weight daily. I would then enter the information in the excel file under the appropriate cell, either leftovers or spoiled food. This would add up to my weekly food waste (mine came to 2.2 Kg), and then converted in its CO2 equivalent. It also compared me my CO2 equivalent of my food waste per year with the climate compatible annual emissions budget per person.

These are my results:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a bit silly but I was a little annoyed at the beginning that the numbers were so low, I really wanted to have a bigger discovery at the end of the week-long experiment. It turns out I’m pretty good at avoiding waste (for that one particular week), most of the food waste was unavoidable i.e. fruit and vegetable peels. There was only one sad savoy cabbage promised for delicious vegan kimchi that went bad before I could even try, oh well!

This was a truly uncomplicated way to become more aware of household food waste at the most localised personal level. However, the issue of food waste is a global one which extends beyond the individual and involves multiple agents; governments, businesses, and producers. Globally it is estimated that a third of the food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted through production process and after consumption (FAO,2013). The quantification of this loss and waste is essential to adequately reduce and avoid wastage of food as well as the waste of natural resources in production.

In 2013, FAO coined the term ‘Food Wastage Footprint’ in order to calculate the environmental and social costs associated with natural resource loss and environmental degradation (FAO, 2013). In this case, food wastage specifically refers to any food lost by deterioration or discard, thus the term “wastage” encompasses both food loss and food waste.

 

“The Food Wastage Footprint (FWF) project… calculates the impact of food wastage on natural resources such as water, land and biodiversity. This includes the natural resources used across the food chain, from growing to distributing food which is finally not eaten, the impact of food wastage disposal on natural resources, and the impact of GHG emissions from food wastage on the atmosphere.”  –  (FAO, Food wastage footprint Impact on natural resources Summary report, 2013)

 

Once the parallels between landfills overflowing with edible food, and malnourished communities on separate parts of the globe were drawn, the issue of food wastage was impossible to ignore (FAO, 2013). Studies were carried out, which showed us that one-third of all food produced for human consumption if wasted, and this is costing 1 trillion USD out of our pockets each year. (FAO, 2014) Still, these high figures overlook the total cost of food wastage; economic, social and environmental. That is where The Food Wastage Footprint comes in.

KNOW.

The Food Wastage Footprint provides a more complete and accurate understanding of the food supply chain. As it unveils hidden environmental and social costs and provides a clear illustration of any distortions within the global food system (FAO, 2014). It also heightens and improves our knowledge of the implications of our food production and consumption patterns.

ENUMERATE.

The Food Wastage Footprint does this by monetizing unpriced natural resources such as land, water, air, ecosystems, and biodiversity, along with the related ecosystem services. Usually natural resources are prey to the Tragedy of the commons’, a concept which Willian Foster Lloyd wrote about back in 1833, it loosely states that resources which are freely accessible are depleted through self-interest over-consumption for short-term gain (Vugt, 2009). By going beyond market pricing, the Food Wastage Footprint incorporates societal welfare costs related to the loss of natural resources.

MITIGATE.

The Food Wastage Footprint therefore serves as a powerful tool for effective mitigation of global food waste. It equips us with a thorough understanding of food wastage at different levels (global, national, local), and the role of various agents (producers & consumers). This is necessary as only by knowing exactly what, where, and how can we successfully reduce food waste and design targeted measures (Fao, 2013).

 

In its study FAO provides calculations for prominent social and environmental costs of food wastage, these are also broken down by geographical region, commodity (cereals, meat, fruit, & vegetables), and phases of the global food supply chain (FAO, 2014). Its findings highlight that in addition to the USD 1 trillion of economic costs per year, environmental costs reach around USD 700 billion and social costs amount to USD 900 billion.

 

 

Some of the most notable findings include;

  • 3.5 Gt CO2e of greenhouse gas emissions. Based on the social cost of carbon, these are estimated to cause USD 394 billion of damages per year.
  • Increased water scarcity, particularly for dry regions and seasons. Globally, this is estimated to cost USD 164 billion per year.
  • Soil erosion due to water is estimated to cost USD 35 billion per year through nutrient loss, lower yields, biological losses and off-site damages. The cost of wind erosion may be of a similar magnitude.
  • Risks to biodiversity including the impacts of pesticide use, nitrate and phosphorus eutrophication, pollinator losses and fisheries overexploitation are estimated to cost USD 32 billion per year.
  • Increased risk of conflict due to soil erosion, estimated to cost USD 396 billion per year.
  • Loss of livelihoods due to soil erosion, estimated to cost USD 333 billion per year.
  • Adverse health effects due to pesticide exposure, estimated to cost USD 153 billion per year.

Source:  FAO, Food wastage footprint Full-cost accounting Final Report, 2014

 

 Key global environmental impacts of food wastage by regions

[Values in million tonnes wastage, millions ha land occupation, million tonnes GHG emissions, and km3 water use, all on the same axis.]

Source: FAO, Food wastage footprint Full-cost accounting Final Report, 2014

 

The Food Wastage Footprint highlights the sheer magnitude of the global food waste problem through valuing our ecosystems, the commons and all related invaluable services they provide. This is not an attempt to put a price tag on nature but rather these calculations allow prioritising actions and defining opportunities for various actor’s contribution to resolving this global challenge (FAO,2013) . However we may choose to look at it, reducing food wastage makes sense economically, environmentally and socially. It also raises the question that, with increasing world population, higher standards of living and limited natural resources, are the costs of food wastage something we can really afford?

 

P.S. For our readers, we encourage you to participate and fill in YOUR food waste diary and feel free to let us know how it went!

Sources

FAO. (2013). Food wastage footprint Impact on natural resources Summary report.

Fao. (2013). Toolkit reducing the food wastage footprint. 

FAO. (2014). Food wastage footprint Full-cost accounting Final Report. 

Fao. (2014). Mitigation of societal costs and benefits of food waste.

Vugt, M. V. (2009). Averting the Tragedy of the Commons

TBYW at the marches

Leading up to this weekend, with The Women’s March on Saturday, and The Climate March on Sunday, TBYW members have been active organising a number of informative events. On the 18th of February our Cultural Monday dinner welcomed a special guest from The Women’s March organisation for a talk on this year’s theme, and the link between feminism and environmentalism. Following that, a banner making event was held on the 26th of February were people got together armed with paint, paper, and plenty of slogans, such as Don’t be a fossil fool, or The Future is Feminist.

On the 9th of March, TBYW members join The Women’s march at Dam square decked out in aprons and banners. The following day, 10th of March TBYW members and all those who wish to join, will gather at Dokhuis Galerie and then at 12:30 start walking together towards The Climate March at Dam square. 

The call for social change, and the betterment in individuals’ and communities’ living conditions, is what drew TBYW to participate in these marches. Our mission to address and reduce food waste is a single expression of the various areas which require social change. As an organisation we believe in grassroots actions are a definitive means for structural change, which both of these demonstrations embody. Awareness of pressing social and environmental issues are part of our core values, so what better way to raise awareness than to take to the streets?

The Women’s March

We at TBYW will be participating in The Women’s March because of the shared belief that a more equitable and just world is possible, and we have a role in making it so. This year’s march focuses on Intersectionality, (keep reading for more on this theory) which goes beyond gender and holds as one of its core principles, environmental justice. By this it is meant, that each and every individual retains the right to clean water and air, and access to and enjoyment of public lands. Our environment and climate must be protected, and natural resources cannot be exploited for corporate gain or greed – especially at the risk of public safety and health.

©Nynke Vissia

A brief history of the Women’s March;

The Women’s March originated in the United States back in 2017, on the 21st of January, between 3,267,134 and 5,246,670 people attended the largest ever single-day protest in the U.S. The aim of this march was to advocate for policies and legislation regarding human rights in general and other specific issues, relating to gender, health care, reproductive rights, racial equality, LGBTQIA rights, workers’ rights, immigration, environmental justice and freedom of creed. As one of the organiser states “It’s about basic equality for all” (Felsenthal, 2017). This march developed into a global movement, and on the same year over seven million people participated in sister marches worldwide.

This 9th of March, The Women’s March is being held here in Amsterdam. People are invited to gather at Dam square at 12:30 p.m. and then proceed to peacefully march towards Museumplein where the march will conclude at 15:00. This year’s focus is on Intersectionality within the movement, the march aims to protest multiple forms of inequalities which individuals experience based on their particular identities.

©Salmon Design

Intersectionality is a theory which states that individuals experience layered discrimination particular to the multiple minority stratifications they fall under, such as; class, gender, race, age, sexual orientation, religion, and ability. Meaning that for example, the experience of sexism for a young queer woman are different from that of an elder cis-woman, and these differences matter. Intersectionality provides a broader spectrum with which to understand and analyse the multiple forms of oppression, which is essential in addressing it. The term intersectionality was first used in a feminist theory context by theorist Kimberle Crenshaw in her paper “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics” (1989). Though the idea of interlocking discrimination had been discussed in previous feminist work, such as the Grimke sisters (Davis, 1983).

The feminist movement is made up of individuals who fall under multiple identify factors; queer women, black women, poor women, this is to say that individuals are not hyphenated identities but a totality of their plurality (Lorde, 1982). If the movement were to only focus on the gender issue it would erase the layered discrimination they experience. For a social movement to truly emancipate their people it needs to recognise that all struggles are inseparable (Davis, 1983).  Therefore, Intersectionality proposes a space within movements, where individuals belonging to multiple minority stratifications can articulate their story and theorize their experience and analysis of oppression (Crenshaw, 1989).

 

The Climate March

The atmospheric changes that we are presently experiencing are a result of neglect and misuse of our natural environment, the issue of food waste provides a clear example of this. The production of food contributes to 30% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, yet half of the food we produce is thrown out. Besides GHGs, this accounts for the loss of water, energy, and land resources which would have been required for production.  Finally, the decomposing food emits methane, a greenhouse gas that is twenty-one times more potent than carbon dioxide. Considering that climate change will only worsen food access and security, we are responsible for our future generations to act now and hold our leaders accountable for their inaction. Therefore,TBYW only saw it fit to attend the Klimaatmars to bind forces and contribute towards a wider movement towards food security and climate justice. 

On Sunday the 10th of March, the streets of Amsterdam will be filled with environmentalist, nature-lovers, climate activists and all those demanding a more sustainable future. People are to gather on Dam square at 1 p.m. and proceed to walk towards Museumplein where the march will wrap up at 16:00.  This demonstration is an initiative of a collection of local environmental organisations including; Milieudefensie together with FNV, Greenpeace, DeGoedeZaak , Woonbond and Oxfam Novib, calling for immediate climate action from authorities. The march itself is a result of multiple other actions, such as rallies around the Netherlands, information sessions and discussions on fair climate policy, organizing meetups to recruit volunteers, distribute local posters and flyers, even organising group travel to Sunday’s march.

©Eino Sierpe

©Nel Berens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On their event page, the organisers state that the aim of The Climate March is a fair climate policy.  This is meant as a wake-up call to authorities and representatives to step up their responsibilities in mitigating and adapting to climate change, and for big polluters to be held accountable for pollution. Climate change has been debated on a global level for decades, yet reaction from governments has sadly, not matched the urgency of the matter. Now we are left with much less time and a much bigger issue to face.The march wants to show that people are watching their governments and are unimpressed with their insufficient action to address climate change deliberately.A change in the present way of addressing climate change is called for, with more concrete agreements need, creation of green jobs, and the implementation of the Polluter Pays Principle (PPP).

OECD (1997) defines the Polluter Pays Principle as “… the polluter should bear the cost of measures to reduce pollution according to the extent of either the damage done to society or the exceeding of an acceptable level (standard) of pollution.

© EESC glossaries

The principle assumes that an acceptable state of the environment must be maintained, if polluters degrade this state, the victims of pollution are entitled for financial compensation. Impacts of climate change tend to be felt especially by the weakest and most vulnerable, who often have contributed least to changing the global atmosphere. This compensation is then used to reverse the degradation and re-establish an acceptable state of the environment. When polluters, knowingly or unknowingly cause irreversible environmental degradation they bear full responsibility of the impact. In exchanging environmental degradation into financial costs, polluters are bound to internalize environmental costs in their activities. An example is for greenhouse gas emissions to be priced at such a level to avoid dangerous climate change(Dellink R., 2009).

Seeing the connections

The individual issues of food waste, climate justice, and feminist intersectionality, collectively concern the sustainability and equity of our society. We have to come to the realisation that we do not live in a single- issue society. Through our experiences we are not subjected to one issue exclusive of all other, rather we go through life experiencing or witnessing different struggles simultaneously. In broadening our perspective and identifying the interlinkages between environmental, social, and gender issue, we increase opportunities for understanding, and finding alternative solutions.

As a foundation TBYW believes that marching is an important medium to create positive change regarding social and environmental justice. Food is only an accessible entry point (everyone consumes food) for a wider discussion about sustainability and social change. While TBYW strives for empowerment of the people to consume consciously and treat each other equally we also seek to pressure authorities to support local initiatives and prioritise food and gender equality in a structural manner. Therefore we are involved in broader social issues and supportive towards a wider social justice movement. Ultimately the more we actively include everyone in the creation of alternatives, the more successful will the outcome of a sustainable and equitable future, be.

Sources

Adewunmi, B. (2014)

Crenshaw, K. (1989)

Davis, A. Y. (1983)

Dellink Rob, d. E. (2009)

Felsenthal, J. (2017) 

Lorde, A. (1982)

Vercillo, S. (2016)

Kimberlé Crenshaw – On Intersectionality  – keynote – WOW 2016

Our volunteers serving delicious meals from rescued food at the National Selection Conference © Anna von Flüe

Earlier this month on a Saturday morning, our events coordinator along with our zealous volunteers were busy chopping and cooking rescued food to feed the 150 attendees of the National Selection Conference. The event was organised here in Amsterdam by the European Youth Parliament the Netherlands, together with the United Nations Environmental Programme.

The National Selection Conference brings together 100 Dutch and international delegates who would have passed through the four preliminary rounds open for high school students all over the Netherlands.  This 19th edition of the conference ‘Bending without breaking: A modern union in a changing Europe’ brought together youths to discuss and debate the challenges the European Union is facing within the broader topics of sustainability, climate change and other related environmental issues. The lead event organiser from the European Youth Parliament the Netherlands explained the intentions as ‘Aiming to provide a platform whereby youth can discuss the changes needed in the movement towards a more sustainable future for Europe’. The conference highlights the importance of involving young people in political processes and decision making in order to create active and critical citizens.

The 19th edition of the National Selection Conference, Amsterdam © European Youth Parliament the Netherlands

 

How do TBYW and the National Selection conference come together? 

Cooking rescued food © Anna von Flüe

TBYW gets plenty of catering requests, however as an organisation we always make sure that the aim of the event and purpose of those organising it align with our mission. Since the programme at the National Selection Conference focused on activating young people towards sustainability and adaptability, we sought to support and to take the opportunity to introduce people to our mission. As an organisation the European Youth Parliament Netherlands (EYP) wanted to put into practice that which it preaches, and send a message that tackling global issues can be done through simple measures, as cooperating with local initiatives.

“ … a great part of it comes through the values we share: the idea that young people should take responsibility to make the change they want to see in the world; the sustainable interaction with our neighbourhood, the environment and our food; and the idea that you can make a change and the realisation that, if you aren’t afraid to reach out to those around you, you will find more people willing to support your cause than you had originally expected.

  – Thanos Theofanakis, Head  Organiser of the National Selection Conference, European Youth Parliament

How did TBYW get ready for the catering?

TBYW volunteers © Anna von Flüe

The  same format as for our weekly dinners was followed, but with the challenge of preparing enough food for almost double the amount of people. Our volunteers collected unwanted food from grocery shops and catering companies, filled the bakfiets and rode towards our kitchen. There they met the volunteers where they proceeded to cook and  prepare the food. A second group of volunteers then helped to set up and serve the food at the location.

The most essential preparation was ensuring we had enough volunteers. Without them it would nothave been possible, and I was so impressed by how dedicated and helpful everyone was. They really made it possible – and fun!” – TBYW events coordinator, Jenny

The response from the conference attendees was truly positive as many people asked questions about the organisation and complimented the food. Everyone was open minded about trying ‘waste’ food, and it inspired them to consider how they consume food more carefully.

What is the extent of food waste in the food service sector?

Presently, the food service sector is responsible for 14% of the total amount of food waste within the EU 27, at an average of 25kg per capita. Here the food service sector refers to the; “production sector involved in the preparation of ready-to-eat food for sale to individuals and communities; includes catering and restauration activities in the hospitality industry, schools, hospitals and businesses (European Commission, 2010).” This sector is the third largest food waste source in the EU 27, after households (42%), and manufacturing (39%).  It still presents opportunities to address inefficiencies in the supply chain and reduce the environmental and financial costs.

Wastage mostly occurs due to spoilage,preparation, plate wastage, and food which is prepared but not served. In its preparatory study on food waste across EU 27, the European Commission identified a number of causes for wastage which include lack of awareness and cultural attitudes, inefficient stock management, cooking and serving practices, and marketing strategies and standards (European Commission, 2010). For example, the simple action of taking leftovers home tends to be frowned upon which results in food being thrown out rather than consumed later. Portion sizes prove to be tricky, as already-set portions might be too much for personal appetites, however a buffet style also leads to wastage as individuals might help themselves to more than what they actually will consume.

© Anna von Flüe

Financially, this food waste represents a huge loss for the food service sector, as perfectly edible food is being thrown out. This now ex-food, accounts for costs for the providers, as they buy ingredients, store them, and then pay employees to make the necessary preparations for consumption (Kreienberg, 2018). Such ineffectiveness in the present food service system makes providers spend money on products which will never be consumed.

Environmentally, this wastage of food is a double loss, at pre-consumption and the post-consumption stages (Lipinski , O’Connor, & Hanson, 2016). The initial stage consumes natural resources such as land, water to grow produce, then energy sources for transportation and production which account for GHGs emissions. In the post-consumption stage food waste needs to be collected and treated which again require energy and land resources. This process results in greenhouse gasses and methane emissions as waste decomposes in landfills.

© Anna von Flüe

Socially, this has negative implications on the global issue of food scarcity, where one in nine people is still malnourished. Food waste, especially in the food service sector highlights the global social inequalities, as certain parts of the world don’t have a constant reliable food source,  while other parts of the world are wasting edible food (Oliveira, Pinto de Moura, & Cunha, 2016). Especially, in the food service sectors, consumers seem to lose their responsibility and ownership of food because they are detached from its production and preparation. This culture of abundance which is assumed for an enjoyable dining out experience devalues food and generates waste, however this does not have to be so.

What can be done?

Let’s not give up on the food service sector just yet, as it is still a sector ripe with opportunity to reduce food waste. Simple but effective changes can be made in the kitchen, during service, and at consumption. Technology can provide means to prolong the shelf life of produce broadening the time frame within which produce can be used in kitchens. Together with the right tools and attitude kitchen staff can be equipped with more creative thinking when using their produce to minimize losses. Food operators take on a role in educating both staff and consumers on the implications of the food waste. In turn customers can reward providers which are reducing their food waste and finding more sustainable means to provide their service without diminishing the overall experience or satisfaction.

Luckily HOTREC, the umbrella Association of hotels, restaurants, bars and cafes and similar establishments in Europe provides guidelines to reduce food waste and recommendations to manage food donations. These are step by step changes which providers can make to reduce food waste, right from constructing the menu to recycling and reusing food leftovers (HOTREC, 2017). Such changes would eventually improve the competitiveness of these food service providers, as it cuts their financial costs and also offer better prices for consumers.

Some of the suggested improvements include:

  • Favour flavours over quantities
  •  Involve your customers in your efforts to reduce food waste/losses: encourage them to act responsibly and sustainably
  • When possible, favour advance bookings to have a better view on the quantity of products to be ordered and stored
  • Have a responsible person in charge of food donations. This will avoid mismanagement of food surplus, and therefore prevent avoidable losses

Source: European Hospitality industry guidelines to reduce food waste and recommendations to manage food donations, HOTREC, Hospitality Europe (2017)

So, what does this mean?

Our collaboration with the European Youth Parliament Netherlands, and involvement at the National selection conference, stand as an example how a localised initiative can provide a solution to environmental issues which can seem overwhelming to tackle. This catering contributed to reducing food waste and the environmental impact, while providing attendees with nutritious delicious food , and  insight to practical way of addressing food waste. We have shown how, with the right changes the food service sector has the potential to contribute to a more sustainable food system This catering event also reaffirms the role that youths play in societal change, which should never be underestimated. Both organisations Taste Before You Waste and the European Youth parliament the Netherlands are youth led and committing their efforts towards a positive impact.  With such small steps, we continue on the mission to minimize food waste and maximize the food value, along with all those offering their support.

Sources

European Commission, 2010

FAO, 2011

HOTREC, 2017

Kreienberg, 2018

Lipinski , B., O’Connor, C., & Hanson, C. ,2016

Oliveira, B., Pinto de Moura, A., & Cunha, L. ,2016

Vol, 2014

 

Special thanks to the Thanos Theofanakis, Head organiser at the 19th National Selection Conference, Amsterdam, and TBYW  Events coordinator Jenny Willcock for their contribution. 

When looking at the way we organize our meals, most of us follow a day-to-day or meal-by-meal logic. While such irregularities have a series of affects on our daily rhythm, this blog post focuses on another seemingly small but still relevant symptom: the waste of food produced due to a lack of planning.

As hunter-gatherers of the 21st century, we daily cross the grocery store, become enthralled by aesthetics or hunger and snatch all these fresh beauties. Sometimes other unanticipated tasks pop up or the laziness kicks in and the meal is not being prepared. Not a problem, the food will still be good the next day. But what about all the other days to come? How can we make sure that the goodies in our fridge and cupboards are not going bad that quickly? How can we plan more efficiently so that as little as possible – or in the best case nothing – goes to waste?

As a food surplus organization we engage with these questions on a daily basis. In doing so, we are always eager to learn and brainstorm with our fellows in the search for best practices, be it through workshops, lectures or panel discussions. Zoe, one of our hosting coordinators, therefore set up a workshop series consisting of three sessions to identify better food surplus management. The first workshop engaged with the question of how to treat your foods appropriately to postpone present symptoms of spoiling. Zoe worked out different guiding themes that play a relevant role in the according planning, and allocated the themes to the workshop tables in the first session. Each group of participants was invited to discuss ideas related to their table theme, followed by a plenary session on more general ideas and know-how from the audience. We were surprised by the many ideas that were brought to the tables, mostly household insider tips and some good old grandma tricks.

In the following you can find an overview of these tips and tricks: 

 

  1. Daily physical check

Check what is in stock: Take a photo or write a list of fridge contents. This helps to avoid buying doubles or unnecessary foodies, which eventually end up in your trash bin.

  1. Supplements

Make a shopping list of things that would complement your stock. For example, use sticky notes or download one of these modern grocery shopping apps!

  1. Resistance

Stay strong towards marketing strategies from supermarkets; don’t give in to ‘buy one and get one for free’ if it doesn’t serve your own consumption well. Also, don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry, which definitely ends up in steering your choices according to the momentary craving for food.

  1. Tailor-made care

Bread: Always keep your bread in paper, never in plastic, and in a dry, dark place instead of the fridge. It will most likely not mold. Moreover, think of ways to process it once it is not fresh and soft anymore. For example, cut slices and put them in the freezer, every time you crave bread you can portion what you need.

Leafy greens, spring onion, leek, and herbs: But them in a glass with water or roll them into a wet towel and but them in the fridge. It keeps them alive like a flower, and it might even keep growing a bit. Alternatively, chop herbs before they go bad and fill them into an ice cube tray with a bit of oil, this way you can always add a dose when you cook and need it.

Bananas, avocados, tomatoes, apples, citrus fruits, peaches, apricots, and nectarines: Keep them outside of the fridge in a dry place; they will keep their taste and durability.

Potatoes and carrots: If possible, keep them in a pot of earth or sand in a dry and dark place, or leave them dirty, they like that!

Most other delicate veggies and fruit like mushroom, broccoli, cherries and berries: These need respectful and delicate treatment, most suitable in the fridge (or freezer, if you want to keep them for later).

  1. Cooling

Also your fridge has different climates, so to say: The coldest spot is at the bottom, which makes it the perfect storing space for veggies (yes, that’s what these plastic drawers are for!) On the top, you can keep your cheese and other foodies that don’t suffer from the minimally higher temperature. In general, keep your raw ingredients at the bottom and away from the cooked food. The door is the warmest area of the fridge, suitable for condiments and juices.

  1. Symbiosis

Vegetables and fruits affect each other’s ripening process when kept in close proximity (they release ethylene gas). For example, ripe bananas will make other fruits and veggies ripen faster, and green apples will make potatoes keep longer. Foods that release ethylene include:

Fruits: Apples, apricots, avocados, bananas, blueberries, cantaloupe, cranberries, figs, honeydew, grapes, mangoes, nectarines, papayas, passion fruits, peaches, pears, persimmons, plums, and prunes.

Vegetables: Green onions and tomatoes.

  1. First In, First Out

Don’t wait until the last moment and organize your fridge so you eat first what went in first.

  1. Measurements

Weigh your dry pasta, rice and grains before cooking to avoid making too much. For an indication, check the packaging or experiment and note down your personal quantity, usually around 50 – 100g dry per person.

  1. Freezer Library

In general, freezers work like a time capsule for fresh food – it locks nutrition and preserves the taste. You can freeze your fruits, coconut milk and curry pastes, as well as cooked meals. Use labels to recognize the icy things in your freezer. Portioning it beforehand will save the hassle to cut frozen food.

Some good old granny tips:

  • When you know you will eat your avocado but it is still too hard, you can wrap it in newspaper and put it in a dry cool place. It should be ready to eat in a day or two. The same goes for bananas.
  • Some say that its better to keep eggs outside of the fridge since it has a natural layer that protects it from going bad. But it depends in which country you live, or if it’s organic or not.
  • When you separate bananas from their bunch, they will continue ripen more slowly.
  • If any of your veggies are looking soggy like carrots or lettuce, soak it in ice-cold water. It will harden it and bring it back to its natural state. Soak flabby salad in ice-cold water right before serving.

We are looking forward to see you at our next sessions!

 

Please note that there are different opinions and perspectives concerning some of the tips we prepared. In most cases, the appropriate treatment depends on factors like temperature, durability and moisture. Try out for yourself and note down what works best in your case. Also, please feel free to comment and share your feedback and tips with us!

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) 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.

Bar chart for EU-28 member states that submitted data for calculations of food waste in households

FUSIONS (Food Use for Social Innovation by Optimizing Waste Prevention Strategies) is a project funded by the European Commission which ended in July 2016. The aim was to make food waste monitoring all over the EU-28 comparable, to gather knowledge about how to reduce discarded food and to build a framework on Food Waste policy for the EU-27. To accomplish their goals, FUSIONS collected data about discarded food in different sectors in the EU between 2012 and 2016. Member states provided the most information about wasted food in households; therefore this sector will be topic of this blog post. I read through their research paper called “Estimates of European food waste levels” and gathered the most important findings about this pressing issue in European households.

Data gaps

First of all: Not all EU-28 countries provided data about their food waste. To fill the data gaps, mean levels of food waste were calculated on the basis of the countries that have supplied data. In the next step the averages were multiplied by the population of each country.  This is a legit measure if samples, in this case the countries which provided data, are proven not to be representative for the population which are in this case the EU-28 member states. However this procedure is questionable mainly due to the fact that higher income countries are not comparable to lower income countries. These countries might differ enormously in regard to their spending capacity and subsequently in their disposal of food. Results are therefore only estimates and never true values. The title of the research paper gave this fact away anyway. Nevertheless it is important to point it out again because the findings should be assessed critically.

Available data

19 out of 28 countries made data available about food waste in households. Eleven of them submitted data about generated food waste within the municipal waste stream. FUSIONS acknowledge data from municipalities to be more reliable in comparison to mere estimates of food waste streams. Therefore, the approximations for the EU‑28 member states were derived from those eleven countries. The data submitted by the countries is representative for the whole country and is based on current findings.

Defining food waste

There exists no European framework that defines food waste. FUSIONS defined food waste as food which is edible as well as thrown away and food which could not be consumed anymore and was discarded. The research paper highlights this differentiation between these two in all their calculations.

Costs of food waste

To calculate the cost of edible and inedible food waste in households, FUSIONS used a study from the UK as a basis. The prices were converted from Pounds to Euro. Relative price differences between the UK and the EU were taken into account and adjusted. The result shows that European household waste 46.5 million tonnes of food worth 98 billion Euros on average per year. According to the research paper, every person produces 92 kilogram food waste. Alarming is that 60 % of this food could still be consumed. Taking into consideration that the numbers are only indications, they are still too high. This amount of food waste is of course also expensive. One tonne of edible food waste is estimated to cost around 3.529 Euro.

Disposing edible veggies, fruits, and other goodies is the same as literally throwing away money. 3.529 Euro could have been spent so much better. 706 people could have eaten at our Wasteless Wednesday Dinner based on suggested five Euro donations. There we actively fight food waste together. You want to help us? Joins us next Wednesday!

 

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