Food: Wasted, Celebrated, Fought Over. A Cross-Section.

For cultures of the past facing the vagaries of an unpredictable environment, wastefulness was often dangerous. It invited death. Modernization has largely enabled us to turn our backs on that mindset. We’ve created a decentralized waste machine, easy to overlook at the local scale, but devastating from a larger perspective. Starvation may seem impossible when … Continue reading Food: Wasted, Celebrated, Fought Over. A Cross-Section.

The @WorldResources Institute On How To “Create A Sustainable Food Future”

It happens that once you specialize in a topic, you get a little jaded about ‘broad overview’ talks. Whenever I go to one of those now, I notice myself mentally playing the ‘food security bingo’ game – what doesn’t the presenter mention? What is emphasized? The point scale in my head looks somewhat like this:

  • Mentions food waste as a problem: + 3
  • Speaks about diet choice: + 3
  • Mentions food sovereignty: + 2
  • Has a differentiated opinion about GMOs: + 1
  • Opens with “how in the world will we feed 10 billion people?”: – 1
  • Speaks about the green revolution as something to emulate: – 1
  • Doesn’t question the current feed vs. food vs. fuel distribution: – 2
  • Speaks about “incredible unused land resources in Africa and Latin America” (which are mainly pastoral or rainforest land): – 3
  • Speaks about multinationals as saviors or alternatively as THE ENEMY: – 3

Like a blackjack player that is counting cards, I try to keep track of whether the tally in my head is positive or negative, and more often than not it finishes around 0 – which is always a slight disappointment. Not so with the World Resources Institute: they thoroughly impressed me with the broadness of their approach, the balanced variety of solutions – focusing on both demand- and supply-side issues – and the honesty with which they presented their research.

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The talk that was presented at DG AGRI was based on the WRI’s upcoming World Resources Report which they dedicate to the challenge of “feeding more than 9 billion people by 2050” and “filling the food gap” (- 1). The speaker thus opened the talk by presenting the fact that we need to produce 70% more food by 2050 – making my eyebrows rise in anticipation of yet another talk focusing on production, production, and yield increases. But I was positively surprised: look at the list of recommendations they give, and look at the top of the list (list as presented in their press release):

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An Eye-Opener on Waste and an Ear-Opener on Marketing Strategies

Do you know how much waste you produce? Would you want to know? Artist Gregg Segal’s impressive project ‘Seven Days of Waste’ impressively hold a mirror to our consumerist society and make you reflect. Truth be told, I try to minimize my waste and was fortunate in Sweden with an comprehensive recycling system in front … Continue reading An Eye-Opener on Waste and an Ear-Opener on Marketing Strategies

Tackling Food Waste – One Strategy at a Time

It’s nice to see that, once challenges are identified, sometimes we do take steps forward to address them. This is at least the purpose of the European food-waste prevention project FUSIONS (Food Use for Social Innovation by Optimizing Waste-Prevention Strategies) that was launched in 2012 and will run until 2016. Along with UK partner WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme), it tried to identify social innovation strategies that could be scaled up to prevent food waste on a larger societal level, and is implementing them right now in field trials to see whether they work, how they work, and how they could be improved.

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First off, they created an inventory of all social innovation strategies connected to food waste that they could find throughout Europe, and it’s actually surprisingly huge. This might be a great starting point if you wanted to become more active in your community, too – they have examples from a great range of countries!

Initially, 39 projects submitted applications to be supported, but only 7 were chosen to actually be implemented. Let’s have a look and see what they do, shall we?

Continue reading “Tackling Food Waste – One Strategy at a Time”