You know that a movement is gaining traction when the government decides to get involved in the action. And you know this movement is going global when not just one or two, but a few countries worldwide take steps to curb their unnecessary food loss. For a long time USA was at the forefront of the fight, approving legislation that increased incentive for food donations. Bill Clinton signed the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act into law in 1996.
It took another few years before the topic picked up heat with the publication of the now famous study by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. The “Global Food – Waste Not, Want Not” study highlighted that 50% of grown food is thrown away.
This inspired a wave of new actions and strengthened the existing ones. Authors, chefs, politicians, students and even average citizens decided to volunteer their time to help ignite a movement. And they did! Of course, it was the French who really dressed the movement up in style. They made Disco Soupes a hit all over France (we even brought it to DC!), and it inspired a group of entrepreneurs to rally behind a more sustainable food system.
What started as a change of individual habit grew beyond those personal walls. Suddenly, people were expecting local restaurants, stores and supermarkets to shape up their act. One supermarket took heed and launched the famous Inglorious Fruits & Vegetables campaign. After that, managers saw that it was actually profitable to sell produce that’s not ‘perfect’.
Then France got serious, and now they passed the most progressive law on food waste seen in government. From now on, supermarkets with large food loss will be obliged to donate their surplus to charities. They’ll do this by July 2016 or face fines, even jail time if they don’t! Also, it’s not illegal to spoil the food by pouring bleach or scaring people with arrest for trying to save the produce from trashcans to feed human.
Maybe it’s too early to celebrate, but we’re seeing food waste back on the menu, and that’s a good sign! Let’s see what our community serves up next!
Will you join? If so, what would you like to see cooking in the kitchen?