Have you ever considered the impact of food waste, and the possibility of how to reduce it?
Last August, Szaporca (Hungary) brought together 35 young people from the United Kingdom, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Hungary and Spain, to make us reflect on the issue from both an individual and collective aspect, and from each region.
“I appreciate the opportunity offered to the Spanish team to live the Less Food Loss experience in a town as unique as Szaporca. Undoubtedly, the shared moments are stored in the memories of many in a very special way and learning in relation to food waste has already passed into the daily life actions of many. Keeping in touch with the people with whom we shared those project days is just a small sample of the connection we had lived and the experience that it meant for all of us to be part of”
The approach was to raise awareness about the amount of food wasted in homes. According to an article published on August 11, 2019 by the newspaper EL PAÍS, Spain threw 1300 million kg / l of food and drink in the past year, 8.9% more than the previous year. The leftover food can have different endings: a use in compost (more favorable option, but less usual), in energy through anaerobic digestion, or in landfills (where the biogas produced by the decomposition of organic matter must be treated; more polluting option; but more used in Spain).
This fact is also related to the amount of food waste by supermarkets for not being acceptable in the standards that the marketing stimulate on us in our nowadays. In general, our consumerist and “capricious” model of life makes us buy more than we need, leading to further waste.
How to reduce food waste?
One of the examples that was shown, in the case of Spain was the APP “Too Good To Go” through which restaurants sell, at a reduced price, the leftover food at the end of the day that had not been sold and therefore would have been thrown away.
“Today, several of us use this app because it is a way to reduce food waste and a cheaper option of purchasing food. Now, in my daily life, I try to make those around me aware of how much food we waste and the loss of resources that this entails. Also, following the project I am trying to compost and eat in a more sustainable way. For example, buying “real food” such as local fruits and vegetables” Rocío d.a.
“All this contributed to a few weeks of learning and fun that, accompanied by people of diverse backgrounds and customs, made us more aware of the problem of food waste while having a good time with people who have become our friends. Likewise, the organization of the destination was super aware of covering our needs and giving us the necessary knowledge so that, little by little, and from our scope of action, we will be an active part in reducing the amount of food we waste”. Claudia
The Vidéken Jó Alapítvány association offered participants the opportunity to understand the food cycle, visit two different local pig and cattle farms, experience how the local’s produced cheese and oil during workshops, and to look closely at the production process of vegetables utilizing the design principles of permaculture.
“I think that I have the same feeling with my group when I say that we have made friendships beyond the project itself. The Spanish made a big family with British and Bulgarian groups. In fact, one of my challenges in this project was the need for a change in my life and, although there is no availability of a garden where I can plant my own food, it did change my daily routines such as through drying food, especially tomatoes which I love, and the preserving of fruits through jams. On the other hand, the documentaries and, above all, the visit to the pig farm gave me the last push to change my lifestyle to vegetarianism, which has made me happier since” Julia H.
We had also the opportunity to approach how these different issues are managed at a local TESCO, a large supermarket chain. We witnessed the process by which products are selected for sale and the process for the leftover products that could not be sold to be donated. We even selected some the products ourselves to donate to the food bank and visited the town to which the leftover food was directed. Furthermore, we experience on site, the food selection process for each family and the reasoning for the amounts of food corresponding to each family.
“During our stay in Szaporca we were able to learn the process of developing products within workshops that were taught by experts of the various disciplines. In the bakery workshop, one of the most recognized Hungarian bakers showed us the best bread recipes to make at home. At the same time another team experienced a pasta making workshop where they enjoyed both making and eating it. We also learned to prepare the most delicious jams typical of the region, and some snacks of dried fruit and vegetables”. Julia G.
“A few weeks before our volunteering in Hungary, we had contact with the other Spanish participants, which was useful for organizing our trip. Living in a house with twelve strangers was a challenge and it was something that worried us on the first day, as we did not know where everyone had come from. However, this ended up being one of the best aspects of the program. The town, Szaporca, was very comfortable to live in and it was very easy for us to explore during our spare time, even other neighboring towns. Living in the countryside for two weeks while working on issues that really matter in the cities, is for me, something that has reached the goal of leaving a positive lasting mark on the participants. I believe that the people who participate in this type of project have a lot to contribute to the world and that a young European who is encouraged to be part of something like that, is a sure way of learning and changing for the better, adding the value that they can later share what has been experienced in other environments. “ Victoria
“If I had to define my experience in Hungary it would be with the phrase: “Act locally, think globally” since the two weeks we have lived surrounded by nature and citizens of the Hungarian rural area have made us open our mind towards a healthier routine in which the first factor in deciding what we eat is asking ourselves where does what we consume come from. Less Food Loss is a blow of reality that makes you rethink your lifestyle and aims to re-educate you in healthier habits both for the environment and for yourself through different workshops, (visits to local farms, cheese producers, policies food, food waste from supermarkets like Tesco…) always accompanied by debates in which we can all contribute our grain of sand and reach a satisfactory conclusion. Regarding the organization we always find different plans to get to know the place, the Hungarian culture and our partners through cultural nights for each country. I only have fond memories of my adventure in Szaporca. I really want to be able to share and employ the knowledge and skills acquired during the project so I could be more conscientious with my actions and have a greater understanding so that I can consume the products presented to me rationally.” Rocío H.
“Two months later, I think that applying for a place for this project was one of the best things I have done this summer. It has offered me the opportunity to meet amazing and wonderful people, with whom I still maintain contact. Moreover, I’ve since used the knowledge I received to adapt my day to day life and teach my family environment what I had learned to be more respectively. “ Ark