7 groups fighting food waste around the world

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Kromkommer tomato soup
credit: Kromkommer


Food waste is a serious problem, with an estimated 40 percent of all calories grown for human consumption getting lost or wasted along the way from field to fork. This is particularly tragic when you consider that nearly 800 million people do not get enough food to support an active life and that poor nutrition kills 3.5 million children each year (nearly half of deaths in children under age five).

A growing number of people are taking action against food waste, creating start-ups and groups within their communities to combat food waste. Most involve the redistribution the surplus food to local charities, while others cook and serve food that would otherwise go to waste. These groups are slowly saving food, diverting it from landfills, and feeding the hungry. Sometimes these actions go even further, as shown by India's Robin Hood Army, which crosses political borders and breaks down cultural boundaries in the process. Slowly but surely, change is happening, but the no food waste movement needs more volunteers and greater awareness in order to spread. See what's available in your own community; perhaps you can make a difference, too.

This Dutch organization’s name means “Crooked Cucumber.” It was created when two Business & Economics students, Jente and Lisanne, learned how much produce is thrown away each year because of irregular shapes, blemishes, even just for being too big or too small. The women launched a successful Kickstarter campaign that resulted in the production of a soup line that uses exclusively wonky vegetables.

Kromkommer has held urban celebrations of imperfect produce, serving and selling thousands of kilograms of produce that would otherwise be thrown away, in an effort to educate people about these usefulness of these foods, despite their unusual appearance.

In a letter to French supermarket chain Intermarché, famous for its “Inglorious Fruits & Vegetables” campaign in 2014, Kromkommer argued for a better approach:

“We think crooked cucumbers, heart-shaped potatoes and other so-called ‘inglorious’ fruits and vegetables are way more fun and extra special. So why would you call them ugly or ‘moche’? The same feeling of inferiority is communicated in the price. We read you sold the products at discounts of 30%. Wasn’t the whole point that a hideous orange is just as good as a perfect orange? Then why should we pay less? If we want to change the perception of consumers, shouldn’t we stop giving them the wrong cues?

“In addition, what we understood from the vegetable growers in our network is that selling products at such a discount often means that the farmer or grower sells his product at or below cost price. At the same time, the wonky veggies will compete with the growers’ –better priced- ‘perfect’ veggies, thereby making it even harder for them to make a living.”

Learn more at Kromkommer

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