Food Is Wasted started off as a documentary photography project by Chris King, initiated by a desire to raise awareness about the many and varied initiatives fighting to reduce avoidable food waste. It's hoped that the project will play some part in helping to engage people and motivating them to take action - however small - be it by volunteering for an organisation, or being more conscious of the food they waste as individuals, and proactively try to reduce it.
OddBox - bringing wonky fruit and veg to homes and offices
Oddbox is a London-based box scheme that works directly with farmers and growers to take their wonky and surplus produce – so food that might otherwise have gone to waste - then deliver them straight to their members’ doors at a price that’s fair for both the farmer and their members.
I spoke to Emilie and Deepak - the two founders of the company, about how they started off, how they sourced their produce, what they’ve witnessed, and what they feel needs to be done to make a more sustainable food system. As we discuss, it’s evident that things need to change, and that despite lots of noise being created by supermarkets around the issue of food waste, they unfortunately are unlikely to lead that change.
It was a great chat, and they give some really valuable insights as to why there is a vital need for the work they are doing, and others that are motivated not by the bottom-line, but by the desire to create positive change in a sustainable manner, and through a long-term approach to providing people access to seasonal, nutritious, affordable food.
This episode is also available as a video, which you can watch via the Food Is Wasted YouTube Channel – go to http://foodiswasted.com/youtube and you’ll see this, and all the other videos produced so far.
If you want to learn more about Oddbox, you can visit their website at http://oddbox.co.uk
And as always, please be sure to share the podcast and video with anyone you feel might be interested.
To find out more about the issue of food waste and people and organisations fighting to reduce is, visit the Food Is Wasted website - http://foodiswasted.com
Feedback - Ranking supermarkets on reducing food waste
In this episode of the Food Is Wasted podcast, I’ll be speaking to Christina O’Sullivan from Feedback – a London-based organisation running several campaigns related to food waste – such as the Gleaning Network and the Pig Idea – both of which feature on the Food Is Wasted website.
Feedback recently published a report called ‘The Food Waste Scorecard’, authored by Christina, which ranked the 10 biggest supermarkets in the UK according to their performance in reducing food waste.
The supermarkets were ranked using available data against the food use hierarchy, which requires that prevention be the priority towards tackling waste. You can see visual of the hierarchy in the show notes,
Tesco came out top of the rankings, having adopted measures including the publishing of third party audited food waste data – the first supermarket to do so. Signing up to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 12.3, of halving food waste from farm to fork by 2030 – again the first supermarket to do so. As well as being, committed to extending transparency to include measurement of food waste in its supply chain.
At the bottom of the rankings was Waitrose, which has done very little in terms of transparency and action. Hopefully the publication of this report, and the publicity it’s getting, will motivate them to act more responsibly.
There’s a huge room for improvement from all supermarkets, and really there needs to be policy written by government to push for more meaningful and sustained action by all supermarkets – voluntary targets, such as those set out in the Courtauld Commitment 2025, are evidently not sufficient.
You can download a copy of the report via the link in the show-notes – go to http://foodiswasted.com/podcasts and navigate to the page for this podcast.
Before we launch into the interview, if you would like to receive future interviews as I publish them, then please subscribe to the podcast, and please also leave a rating or review – all of which will help ensure more people get to learn about the people and organisations I document, and the great work they are doing to reduce avoidable food waste.
Also, this interview is available as a video, which you can watch on the Food Is Wasted website, or on YouTube – just go to http://foodiswasted.com/youtube and you’ll be taken to the YouTube channel.
You can visit Feedback's website at http://feedbackglobal.org
Selina Juul - Denmark's food waste champion
When I was over in Copenhagen last year for a few days, I got in touch with Selina Juul – founder of the organisation Stop Wasting Food - to see if she would be willing and able to be interviewed, and she very kindly said she was. The day we arranged to meet Selina was being interviewed and participating in a panel discussion at a national radio station, which I was able to sit in on. After which we found a suitable space to conduct this interview.
Those people who keep an eye on all things food waste will no doubt be aware of Selina and the work she does. She has achieved an incredible amount both as an individual – from speaking in front of the European Parliament and the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, to being awarded Dane of the Year in 2014 – and through the Stop Wasting Food movement, which Selina started in 2008, which itself has won many awards and contributed significantly to raising awareness and reducing food waste in Denmark, by engaging politicians, supermarkets and households. The organisation has also been a key contributor to the EU’s own resolutions against food waste.
This episode is also available as a video, which you can watch on YouTube at foodiswasted.com/youtube
If you would like to read about and see what I’ve witnessed while documenting the issue over the past few years – in cities and on farms across Europe, then visit the Food Is Wasted website at foodiswasted.com
You can find out more about the work Selina and her organisation does at stopwastingfoodmovement.org
Bubble and Squeak - A social enterprise run by school children
In this episode I speak to some of the children who run the social enterprise Bubble and Squeak, at their school in West London - selling surplus food in the school playground and to the local community.
The initiative is led by around 400 children aged 5 to 12 years old, and aims to take edible surplus food such as fruit and vegetables from local businesses, markets and supermarkets, to then redistribute it to the local community on a ‘pay as you feel’ basis.
I visited the children at their school just before they were about to start a crowdfunding campaign last year, which ended up being very successful, to hear their thoughts about food waste and details of the work they are doing. I then spoke to Lidia, their teacher and one of the project leads for Bubble and Squeak, who shares more about how the social enterprise works, and the impact it’s having.
If you would like to find out more about the work the kids are doing, you can visit their site at http://bubblesqueakeat.com.
If you would like to learn more about the issue of food waste, and about people and organisations that are working to reduce it, then please visit the Food Is Wasted website at http://foodiswasted.com, and subscribe to the newsletter to be kept up to date on new podcasts, articles and visual content.
Chef Tom Hunt - Promoting 'Root to Fruit' eating
This podcast is a brief interview I conducted with the chef Tom Hunt. Tom is not just an award-winning chef and restaurant owner, but also a food writer, sustainability consultant and campaigner, as well as author of the book The Natural Cook.
Tom's response to the issue of food waste is to promote what he calls 'Root to Fruit Eating', which we touch upon briefly in the interview, and which entails – eating for pleasure, eating whole foods, and eating the best food you can.
I met up with Tom at a recent event he was hosting and talking at here in London, in collaboration with the Thomson Reuters Foundation. It was a very last-minute interview, so I had almost no time to prepare, but it was a great opportunity to learn more about Tom's work and philosophy on the topic of food waste.
You can find out more about Tom and his work at http://tomsfeast.com
For more podcasts, articles and photos of people and organisations working to reduce the amount of edible food needlessly going to waste, visit the Food Is Wasted website - http://foodiswasted.com
Seedling - Reducing Food Waste through Vertical Farming and Aquaponics
In this episode, I'm speaking to Travis Andren from Seedling in Philadelphia, in the United States - an organisation working on bringing efficient forms of urban-based, vertical farming and aquaponics into the mainstream.
A lot of the focus on reducing avoidable food waste is placed on the household, or changing supermarket practices, all of which are important in addressing the flaws in the current system. But what if a new agricultural system was introduced to reduce the dependency on the depleted soils of rural land - one that feeds our ever-growing cities from within the cities themselves, and essentially eliminates the potential for food waste by avoiding food losses, allowing for a diversity of secondary markets, and as a last resort - say if there is a crop failure - using the food to produce energy to sustain the system.
That's exactly what Seedling aims to do - to create a source of locally produced food for retailers, academic institutions, and the catering and hospitality industries, with a minimal impact on the environment. The nature of this type of farming not only reduces the amount of avoidable food waste being produced, but provides a more efficient, lower-impact means of feeding cities.
I talk to Travis about the viability of vertical farming, the impact it has compared to conventional, rural-based agriculture, and much more.
Visit the Seedling site for more info - http://www.seedling-phl.com
Visit the Food Is Wasted website for more information on food waste and initiatives to try and reduce it - http://foodiswasted.com