News & Politics

Food Is... - Documenting the issue of Food Waste

Food Is... - Documenting Food Waste

Food Is… 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.

Episodes

Seedling - Reducing Food Waste through Vertical Farming and Aquaponics
50:53
2017-12-19 14:28:25 UTC 50:53
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

Pete Pearson - Director of WWF US food waste campaign
30:31
2017-12-19 14:28:25 UTC 30:31
Pete Pearson - Director of WWF US food waste campaign

In this episode I’m speaking to Pete Pearson – Director of food waste at the World Wildlife Fund’s US offices.

WWF is an international NGO working in over 100 countries - focusing on conservation and minimising the impact we humans have on the environment, and the other animals with whom we share this planet.

Since 2015 they’ve been devoting resources to a campaign to reduce food waste, resulting in initiatives both commercial and educational in focus.

I discuss with Pete the evolution of the campaign, the willingness of businesses to engage with the them and the issue, as well as the impact of government policy and much more.

Since the interview was conducted there has been the launch of a series of pilot projects aimed at further reducing food waste in the hotel industry – being carried out in co-operation with The Rockefeller Foundation and the American Hotel and Lodging Association.

If you would like to be kept up to date on new interviews and articles on the site, as well as discounts for the new shop – where I’m selling prints of my work - the profits from which will go to helping fund the project, and allow me to spend more time documenting the activities of organisations fighting to reduce avoidable food waste. So please check out the shop at http://foodis.org.uk/shop and sign up to the newsletter at http://foodis.org.uk/newsletter

Food for Soul - Promoting social awareness about food waste and hunger
41:35
2017-12-19 14:28:25 UTC 41:35
Food for Soul - Promoting social awareness about food waste and hunger

In this episode I’m speaking to Cristina Reni from Food for Soul – an organisation based in Italy, set up by the chef Massimo Bottura, who runs the number one restaurant in the world.

The organisation aims to encourage public and private organisations to create community kitchens around the world, and was created after Massimo was involved in setting up a soup kitchen in an abandoned theatre during the Expo 2015 in Milan, feeding vulnerable members of the community using food left over from the Expo each day, rescuing it from going to waste. He was involved with a similar initiative at the Rio Olympics in 2016.

Thanks to the work of Food for Soul, these soup kitchens – or refettorios - are still up and running, and it’s recently been announced that they will be opening a refettorio in London this June, during London Food Month.

I spoke to Cristina, who is a project manager at Food for Soul about how the organisation functions, the impact it’s having, and much more.

Just a say that this was the first time I had carried out an interview via Skype, and I was also starting to come down with a cold, so I’m not the most dynamic in this interview unfortunately, but Cristina more than makes up for that with her passion and enthusiasm for the great work that Food for Soul is doing.

If you would like to learn more about the work Food for Soul is doing, visit their website at - foodforsoul.it

If you would like to learn more about the issue of food waste and the work being done by organisations like Food for Soul, then be sure to visit the Food Is… website at foodis.org.uk – and sign up for the newsletter if you would like to be kept informed of new articles, interviews and initiatives.

If you’re involved with a food waste relate initiative, and would like to be featured on the site or podcast, please get in touch with me via email at chris@foodis.org.uk

Elysia - Meals and catering using surplus food from local artisans
21:56
2017-12-19 14:28:25 UTC 21:56
Elysia - Meals and catering using surplus food from local artisans

In this episode I’ll be speaking to Sophie from Elysia – a new start-up social enterprise which buys food that would otherwise have gone to waste from various local, artisan suppliers at a discounted rate, and uses them to create meals to order, as well as catering for events.

I caught up with Sophie during one such event, and she shared with me the story behind Elysia, how it functions, and the impact her company is having on reducing avoidable food waste.

Then we met up a second time when she was meeting with chef Emily Roux, daughter of Michel Roux Jr, who has been providing Sophie with mentorship and support in developing her dishes.

I spoke to Emily about her experiences as a chef in relation to food waste both here in the UK, and in France, and what she has gained and learnt about the issue from her work with Sophie.

Sophie has been very kind to provide listeners of the podcast with a discount on their first purchase from Elysia, details of which I will share at the end of the recording.

Elysia - http://elysiacatering.com

Articles, interviews and videos on food waste  - http://foodis.org.uk

Margaret Ritchie MP, of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee
14:30
2017-12-19 14:28:25 UTC 14:30
Margaret Ritchie MP, of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

In this episode I’m speaking to Margaret Ritchie MP - Member of Parliament for South Down in Northern Ireland, and a member of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee.

In the previous episode I’d said I would be publishing a second SOS NI podcast, which shared the stories of the staff and volunteers, and the organisations they support, but it’s taking me longer to piece together than I’d hoped, and because I’ve been recording other interviews at the same time I didn’t want to delay getting them published any longer. So that’s why you’ll be listening to an interview with Margaret Ritchie instead of the SOS NI crew, and there might be one or two more published ahead of that episode, but I will hopefully have it sorted in a few weeks time.

So the background to this interview - I contacted Margaret after reading her conversation on Twitter with the organisation Feedback – telling about a grocer who had been told by a local official that he couldn’t sell cosmetically imperfect produce.

Margaret sits on the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee which is currently investigating the issue of food waste, and will be reporting on it later in the year. I will put links in the show notes to the recordings of representatives of the supermarkets and others giving testimony to the committee.

It’s a brief interview, which took place in a busy MP’s café in the heart of the Houses of Parliament, and explores the work of the committee as well as what lies ahead, and the potential for new legislation.

Read the show notes here - http://foodis.org.uk/?p=1537

Find out more about food waste on the Food Is... website - http://foodis.org.uk

SOS NI - Rescuing fresh food and redistributing to those in need
22:50
2017-12-19 14:28:25 UTC 22:50
SOS NI - Rescuing fresh food and redistributing to those in need

In this episode I’m speaking to Pete Loughins from SOS Northern Ireland’s Food Programme, which gathers food and other goods from supermarkets that would otherwise go to waste, and redistributes them to other non-profit organisations which are providing frontline support to vulnerable members of the community.

What distinguishes SOS NI from other redistribution initiatives is their focus on capturing fresh produce – collecting bread and other baked goods, fruit and vegetables, rather than canned and non-perishable produce which most others capture. They gather the food 6 nights a week, distributing it the following morning to ensure it is still fresh.

This is the first in a two-part series – the second episode will be released in 2 weeks time, and shares the stories of the volunteers as they deliver the food, and representatives of the recipient organisations.

Find out more about about SOS NI here - http://www.sosbusni.com/foodprogramme

And sign up to the Food Is... newsletter - http://foodis.org.uk/newsletter

 

Fruta Feia - Giving farmers a fair price for their wonky veg
12:23
2017-12-19 14:28:25 UTC 12:23
Fruta Feia - Giving farmers a fair price for their wonky veg

In this episode I’m speaking to a couple of people from Fruta Feia a co-operative with hubs around Portugal, that buys food from farmers that has been rejected by the retailers they supply, and would otherwise have gone to waste – selling this seasonal and locally sourced produce on to its members.

I was fortunate enough to spend the day with Fruta Feia, as they collected food from various suppliers from towns and villages nearby Lisbon, and then took it to a community centre to create the fruit and veg boxes for their members.

The recording took place as the produce collected that day was being unloaded from the van, during which I spoke to Miguel who works for the co-op and explains a little about how Fruta Feia functions, and then to a volunteer who explains how and why she got involved with the organisation – her opinions are of course her own, and don’t necessarily reflect those of Fruta Feia.

It’s a brief introduction to what is a fantastic organisation, doing great work in reducing food waste, supporting local farmers, and providing people access to healthy, nutritious and fresh food at very affordable price.

ReFood - Hyperlocal food rescue and redistribution
40:46
2017-12-19 14:28:25 UTC 40:46
ReFood - Hyperlocal food rescue and redistribution

In this episode I'm speaking to Hunter Halder, founder of the ReFood movement in Portugal. Hunter is originally from the US, but has lived in Lisbon for many years. In the 5 years that ReFood has existed, it has gone from 1 volunteer to 4,000, and serving 2,500 people 46,000 meals in a month. The organisation is entirely volunteer run, and focuses on addressing the issues of food waste and food poverty at a neighbourhood level. I have to say in the 3 years I’ve been documenting the issue of food waste, this has to be the most impressive, and effective initiative I have come across – it’s a real inspiration, and I hope that the concept is replicated the world over! The interview took place on the street, at a café in Lisbon, so there’s quite a bit of background noise, but it was the only option available to us, and I hope it’s not too distracting! If you are working on a food waste initiative, or know someone who is, please get in touch – it would be great to have you on the podcast – you can email me at chris@foodis.org.uk For more information on the great work ReFood is doing, visit the ReFood website.

ChicP - Hummus from surplus vegetables
17:59
2017-12-19 14:28:25 UTC 17:59
ChicP - Hummus from surplus vegetables

This first episode of the podcast - which was recorded just before Christmas, hence the references to Brussel sprouts and the festive season - introduces the work of Hannah McCollum who founded ChicP – a company that gathers food that would otherwise go to waste from local markets, and produces very tasty sweet and savoury hummus.