I find this image a powerful juxtaposition, and clearly this was the intention, and full credit to the artist who constructed it because it really sends a message. The date in the URL indicates that this artistic comment was prior to, and part of, the European change forcing supermarkets to donate their superceded fresh food to charities working with the homeless and destitute. The Guardian 5.2.2016 reported that the French government had legislated to make supermarkets give unsold food to charities for redistribution, instead of destroying it or dumping it. According to the Guardian, at that point French had been wasting 7 million tonnes of food annually.
In the UK Tesco, according to the Daily Mail, June 4, 2015, voluntarily has offered to give food to charities as part of a waste cutting process. And into 2018, it is the food charities in Australia that are being proactive in pursuing the supermarkets to donate to groups like Foodbank. and similar work is being done in the US and elsewhere.
In some countries there has been a clever utilization of technology whereby there are apps to help groups, individuals and companies to strategically donate.
It is a win-win. The supermarkets can sign off on community charity work, the supermarkets can deal with waste as an issue, the charities are now receiving the help they’ve only ever dreamed about, and the people in desperate need are receiving help. The only note of sadness is that it has taken a crisis of waste to shame the govenrments and supermarkets into action. But at least they’ve now taken action. And to think that most of it (though not all, because in some countries it was utilized in farming) was destined for landfill.
It’s not new, but it is a renewal of an older idea that has returned out of necessity. I’m really taken with this new found advocacy that has sought to influence how community works and how commercial interests behave. What excites me most is that it has been a grass roots process to get the supermarkets and governments to cooperate in such a venture. It tells me that people power is still a legitimate force, that there is a conscience in many places across the world, that ordinary people can influence poltical and commercial process, and that we can be creative in response to needs.
It gives me hope that we are not giving up, that we can tackle the big issues and make headway. It also tells me that we can do more. If we can influence food policy, surely we can tackle even bigger issues, like dealing with developing world debt, disease, poverty, homelessness, refugees, and even war.
Food is not all that we waste. We waste time, money and ability. There has been, in Australia, a diminishing of volunteering, there has been a lack of commitment to helping those charitees working with refugees, the homeless, and those in poverty. But if we can change food policy, surely we can change other avenues of social and economic need. To me there is more to be done at the point of cause. why is there wasted food in supermarkets? So, it’s about tackling the big questions of how we can effect change in society, especially for the most vulnerable. And when you lose heart because change seems impossible, such achievements as this give hope for the long haul, that, in fact, change is achieveable, it only takes, energy, passion, time and effort on our part. Let’s not waste our time!