Two days ago members of the Youth Food Movement Netherlands headed out to fields around Amsterdam to glean vegetables left behind after the harvest. Too small, irregularly shaped or slightly blemished, the tons of produce deemed “unfit” by retailers constitutes just a segment of the food waste that occurs from field-to-fork: around one third of global production. Today this fresh and healthy produce is being offered in a free lunch for 5000 people: a public action to urge everyone to help stop wasteful food practices – from farms to distribution networks and from company boardrooms to home kitchens.
Following in the successful footsteps of actions by the Slow Food Youth Network in Berlin (SchnippelDisko) and France (DiscoSoupe), today’s Damn Food Waste/Disco Soep event at the Museumplein Amsterdam is a first for the Netherlands. Volunteers met at the Amsterdam Food Bank yesterday to wash, peel, and chop more than a thousand pounds of the “unwanted” vegetables and will today serve the huge pots of soup and curry in the prominent city square from 12 pm – 6 pm, with DJs to entertain the crowds.
Of the annual 4.4 billion euros of food wasted in the Netherlands, more than half is thrown away by Dutch consumers – around 110 lbs per person. This is equivalent to around 100,000 garbage truck loads of good edible food going to waste, much of it having travelled long distances. The Dutch government is aiming to achieve a 20% decrease in food waste by 2015 and the EU wants to see a 50% decrease of food waste by 2025.
Today’s event is linked to the worldwide campaign against food waste Feeding the 5000, initiated by Tristram Stuart, author of Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal (Penguin, 2009).
Damn Food Waste is an initiative of Youth Food Movement with FoodGuerrilla (NCDO), Voedingscentrum, Wageningen UR, Natuur & Milieu and Feeding the 5000/EU Fusions.