No Leftovers: Remedying a Wasteful World

A panel discussion held at Refettorio Felix in partnership with Advaya Initiative invited four key speakers to chew the fat on food waste

What was the event and why?

We live in a wasteful world. Every year, a third of the global food production is lost or wasted – that’s 1.3 billion tonnes of waste worldwide, with a scandalous impact on resources in production and distribution, carbon emissions and over-brimming landfills. It’s time to make a change. We invited a chef, techie, entrepreneur and activist to share their vision on how to wage war on food waste and salvage a sustainable foodscape.

Who were the speakers?

Douglas McMaster (Silo, Zero Waste Chef-Activist)
Doug is a chef and founder of a first ever zero-waste restaurant called Silo. Before the opening of Silo, Douglas has worked all around the world in high profile restaurants such as St. John Bread & Wine in Spitalfields, London. www.silobrighton.com

Ruth Anslow (hiSbe, ethical supermarket rebels)
Ruth Anslow is Co-Founder of hiSbe rebel supermarket in Brighton. She’s in love with idea that business can be a force for good, by serving the interests of the public and communities, not just a few shareholders and directors. www.hisbe.co.uk

Carina Millstone (Feedback)
Karina is the Executive Director of Feedback, a small, but far-reaching, environmental campaigning organisation that aims to inspire the global community to implement positive solutions to a broken food system. https://feedbackglobal.org

Ludvig Berling (Karma, food waste app)
Ludvig Berling is Chief Product Officer and co-founder of Karma, Karma is fighting food waste globally by offering a user friendly platform to both users and retailers, making it rewarding to rescue food. https://karma.life

 

What were the highlights of the discussion?

We enjoyed Doug explain how is restaurant Silo works on a zero waste principle; “failure of the imagination. We look at a material and say – this is not waste – how do we turn this into something glorious?”, he said.

Doug gave an intriguing explanation of the difference between indirect and direct trade; “The industrial food supply model is indirect – it’s a disconnection to food. We no longer have a responsibility anymore – food is commercialised, easy to throw-away. Direct trade allows us to look in those farmers eyes and understand the process behind it. This gives it value.”

Doug also shared his thoughts on our industrialised food system. “People say – why is the food at your restaurant so unique? It’s because it’s a product of a unique system. It’s pre-industrial food. Waste exists because of industrialised efficiencies. Feeding people, to make it efficient, became industrialised. Industrial food is dead food – you bleach it, denature it and it lasts forever – you can put it on the shelf for weeks. The food we create is alive. Eating dead food doesn’t make sense.”

We also loved learning how Ruth’s Brighton-based supermarket goes against the grain. “I have a great belief in the power of business to do good. I started a business with the aim of creating a positive social change in the food system, as opposed to just make money. We sat down and said; how can you encourage positive choices? How should a supermarket be?”

She talked about the role of sustainable sourcing in curbing waste: “Local suppliers are very important – local farms, working in harmony with the soil. We stock responsible brands.. Conventional supermarkets – they spend millions of pounds to push us towards choices we don’t want – that then get wasted. They exploit suppliers, underpay staff, suck shops out of towns and centralise it. And then sell bad food – that is cheap and easy to produce.”

 

Thanks to Advaya Initiative for helping us organise this event, all the speakers and guests- together we can work towards a zero waste world!

Image by Gregg Segal, ‘7 Days of Garbage’ – www.greggsegal.com

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