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When you think about food waste, it always seems like something that requires a lot of radical changes to solve. Knowing that about 40% of our food never gets eaten, the obvious thing is for us to really put our creativity and discipline to work to buy 40% less or...eat 40% more. But it doesn't have to be so complicated, really.
The thing with food waste is, that we have too much food yet 795 million people in the world are starving, and 1 in 8 Americans don't have a steady food supply to their table. The reason for that is that the food that some people have too much of, never has a way to getting to the people who have too little of it.
In 1999, the concept of FoodCam was invented in MIT by Will Glesnes and Jon Ferguson, to reduce their building-wide leftover problem. "The idea is quite simple - if they have some leftover food, they place it under the food cam and press a button. That triggers a notification that gets sent to everyone in the building on Twitter, Slack, or via email", letting them know that hey, look, free food, come get it. This is working really great for MIT, and their leftover food problem has been basically eliminated, which is great, but it's just one building. However, imagine what happens when you scale it up!
Komal Ahmad, the founder & CEO of the food collection company Copia says, the food recovery process should be as simple as "people who have food say "Hey, we have food", and people who need food say "Hey, we need food", and we could connect those people", and we couldn't agree more. This is basically what donating food to food banks is, but how many households or companies do you personally know who actually donate food? The process of donating food and having it reach people who need it more, is ridiculously complicated, and it should not be that way.
"Food waste in our society comes down to choice." While you probably won't go on a fast track to get your workplace to get active on seeking out food recovery companies and donating leftover food, how about just borrowing the idea of the FoodCam? First, you can set it up in the office kitchen. Then, maybe outside of the office building? What if your local supermarket does it too? Before you know it, the people who need food, have countless places in the local community to go and get it from. This is solving two problems at once: fighting hunger and slowing down global warming.
So why is food waste the world's dumbest problem? Because it's really not that hard to solve, as long as each of us is committed to it.
"Vox", in collaboration with the University of California, recently published a video on their Youtube channel, that looks deeper into the food waste reduction efforts not only MIT is making, but other companies as well. We'd really encourage you to check it out - if not for inspiration for your own FoodCam, then for the practical tips on reducing food waste in the end:
(And once you're done with sharing your leftovers, you can check out MITs food cam live here)
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Referenced from: Vox