Environmental issues are becoming increasingly discussed, more and more people are abandoning plastic, and environmentally friendly household chemicals can now be found in every supermarket. Another hot topic is the problem of food waste. According to statistics, about a third of the food produced in the world is ultimately turned into waste, and more than 1.3 billion tons of food is thrown away annually and ends up in the trash.
One way to deal with food waste is food sharing. This environmental movement originated in Germany, and its main task is to reduce the emission of unused food. One of the first impetus for creating a platform that helps reduce food consumption was Valentine Tern’s documentary, “Taste of Waste,” in which the director shows the extent of utilization of food-friendly products and reflects on how this problem can be solved. In 2012, together with a small group of students, the director launched the foodsharing.de platform, which allows people and large companies to share food.
It is important that the main thing for food sharing is not to allow food to disappear, and whether the needy, homeless, ordinary family or ordinary student will eat it is not so important. On the German food sharing page on Facebook, more than 100 thousand likes, more and more people are ready to share uneaten food, help others and eat unused products. Food sharing is also gaining popularity in Russia, in the VKontakte group Food sharing. I give food for free, the number of participants is close to 40 thousand, here they give a few baguettes from the Daily Bread, two packs of fermented baked milk, and even fresh tomatoes with kilograms : "You can take for free how much you like, then share the excess in the group."
On weekend, the Danilovsky market will host the event "Change Food Waste" - Moscow chefs will gather on the market to save products that will not survive until tomorrow and prepare dinner from food waste for market visitors. On the eve of the event, we talked with the founders of the food sharing movement in Russia, with the volunteer and curator about what food sharing is, how to start working on it and why it is beneficial for everyone.
food sharing organizer in Russia, group administrator at VKontakte Food sharing
I saw that such a movement exists in Germany, looked for something similar in Russia, thought that we have groups where they give free books, clothes, toys, generally any things, but I don’t have one for food, and I decided to do it. Initially, I assumed that only people would share food, but after a month, organizations began to catch up. Now we have more than 40 ads per day in the group (50% people, 50% - organizations).
We call ourselves an environmental project, although a lot of people write that the group changed their lives, but we are not aimed at charity. For example, we don’t have such a rule in the group that we primarily give it to pensioners or large families, we usually have everything in the order of the queue: whoever has time to make an appointment, who is comfortable at the time, takes food. We are still more about ecology, about the conservation of resources.
In "VKontakte" about
600 food sharing groups
Once we participated in the festival "Neighbor's Yard" - with my friend, who owns a hostel and library. We cooked for free there, and he suggested we cook at his place every weekend and give out food. We liked the idea, and for two years now we have been preparing free lunches on Sundays.
Food is brought to us from the vegetable warehouse, with which we cooperate, per day we save from 100 kilograms to 50 tons of vegetables and fruits. Bread is brought to us from bakeries, also volunteers who come to cook often bring cereals, and this is enough for us. That is, we ourselves do not buy anything, usually the money goes only for oil, salt, sugar, something that we rarely give, but a lot of it is spent. Different people come to us: half of them are low-income pensioners and the homeless, the second are students and just ordinary people who know about our dinners, and someone just heard, he was interested, and he came, someone comes just hang out. Usually a person comes in at 30. In Moscow, we stopped making such dinners, because we do not have such public places where we could call a lot of people, where there would be free access and a large kitchen.
founder of foodsharing.ru
The idea to try to organize food sharing came to me after I learned from the Internet about a similar practice in Germany. Looking for information, I realized that we do not have such a phenomenon in the form of a system project. In the summer of 2015, I created groups in social networks, began to disseminate information and look for like-minded people. It turned out that the idea of food sharing is interesting and close to many in our country. We chatted with Anna Kirillovskaya from St. Petersburg and with several guys who knew German well, and began to study and translate the documentation of the German project.
Last year, our project and Foodsharing St. Petersburg diverged somewhat in terms of rules: in Moscow, we made the distribution of products mandatory for those in need. For most employees and owners of organizations that cooperate with us, this is important, and this has allowed us to several times increase the volume of products that we save on a daily basis.
The volunteer must register, take a test of knowledge of the rules and fill out a questionnaire. After registration, he enters the database of participants.
If conditions suit him, he begins to regularly pick up products. He can keep a part for himself, but most must be distributed among those in need. We interpret the needy quite broadly: it can be pensioners, large and single-parent families, foundations and help points, including those supporting the homeless, refugees, and the disabled. If the volunteer has his own wards, he can distribute it to them, if not, then we select them, again, as close as possible to the location.
We pick up products only on the basis of oral agreements. Organizations write off products first, then give them to us. We would like to arrange food sharing as a legal entity and work officially, but there are a number of difficulties with official registration.
Most of the foods that could potentially be spoiled are vegetables and fruits. They often need sorting, trimming, recycling. Damage to such products is easily visible to the eye and is not dangerous. If the organization writes off products at risk (meat, fish, dairy products), the safety of which they are not sure, they will never agree to cooperate with food sharing, as they are no less afraid of us to admit even a small risk of poisoning.
We always ask volunteers to interview recipients and give us feedback on the products received, but no cases of poisoning or any health problems resulting from the use of food sharing products over the past three years have occurred.
There are many ways to find those in need: firstly, many participants already have contacts of people whom they want to help — these can be pensioners at the entrance, familiar families with many children ... A convenient way to find out about families in need is to ask the concierge. A large share is occupied by volunteers of other charitable foundations who, with the help of food sharing, get an additional opportunity to provide products for their wards. Large transfers of tens of kilograms we redirect to the funds. We do not have storage or distribution points, just to minimize the time between export and receipt of products, as well as to optimally select the number of recipients. To do this, we select the volunteer, organization and those in need as close to each other as possible: the volunteer took out the products, estimated in terms of how much this person was, on the way home he delivered everything to people at once.
My daughter went to college and went on vacation. On the Internet, I found a movie, unfortunately, I can’t remember the name, but definitely not "Eat can not be thrown away." I saw him later. In general, I looked at him and decided: while alone, you can try. I must say right away that it was not necessary, it just became interesting.
The first day I went around the shops in the area, I realized that the network will not go into contact. And in the store near the house they agreed: I help sort out vegetables, and they give me part of the marriage.
The very next evening, the owner of a nearby store came to see me. It is seen rarely seen crazy ladies. He clarified whether everything is fine with money and food. He laughed and instructed to give me trim and non-standard. Believe me, this is a decent meat. My cat ate it with pleasure, but my cat is also an esthete, not every food eats. In general, the meat was really fun. I made a compote mix of crushed fruit. Here, not everyone makes grapefruit jam or lychee compote. So, within a month my cat gained weight, and I ate healthy food. I was invited for another year to sort out fruits and vegetables. Now these shops are no longer there, they all demolished.
Food sharing in Moscow appeared a little later, probably a year after my research. I would say that it is developing very actively: for example, a year ago it was hard to give food in my area, but now they come within an hour. Many shops and cafes themselves are already looking for access to food sharing. I’ve been a volunteer for three years already, now I’m giving food to pensioners in a summer cottage.
Curator of the food-sharing project "Full Hour"
I became interested in food sharing because I advocate saving resources and consider it a blatant crime against humanity that a huge amount of normal food is thrown away by restaurants and shops. Food sharing perfectly solves two problems: food does not disappear, and people can eat tasty food. Well, food sharing is a cool thing for those who do not want to support supermarkets-corporations with the ruble, advocate barter, against waste of resources, and are too squeamish for frigidity.
We try to involve cafes and restaurants in the project, but this is a big problem: many cafes refuse without explanation, others immediately throw all the food into the trash, and others simply don’t respond. Now we are working with Surf Coffee and are looking for more options. Basically, students and their friends come to us, who learn from them about the action, maybe someone from those who are subscribed to the public. We always put in the registration the exact number of people that can come, as the amount of food is limited. On average, about ten people come for one distribution. I think that now our project is still more charitable, rather than ecological, because so far we are saving not so much food, we are feeding hungry students more.
Digital Marketing Director, Café Bakery "Daily Bread"
Since the opening of the very first bakery in 2007, we tried not to throw away bread and pastries. The expiration date does not end at the end of the working day, and consumer properties are not lost. We started looking for charitable organizations with whom in partnership we could help those who really need help: families with many children, people with disabilities, pensioners, people in difficult situations. Now we are cooperating with more than 35 partners. There is no financial benefit here - we donate products to charity organizations. Every morning in the cafe we put fresh croissants and bread on the shelves and expect that there will be a buyer on them. In the evening, we give guests a discount, and by the end of the day we transfer everything unsold to charitable organizations - volunteers come to the cafe and pick up the pastries.