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Food Waste Challenge – Community Voices August 15th, 2016

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Over the course of the Food Waste Challenge, we'll be featuring snapshots of OpenIDEO members who have been making significant contributions to our community. This week, let’s take a look at what’s been inspiring Delia Kulukundis and Sachin Bhide in the Challenge.

Delia Kulukundis is a designer at RAFT Landscape Architecture, where she dreams up ways to make outdoor spaces more uplifting, fun, and ecologically productive.  Wherever she is, Delia loves exploring the built and natural environments (preferably on foot), and enthusiastically samples any new or unusual foods she finds.

Sachin Bhide is an automotive engineer with a great passion for social work. He believes in bringing about change without the use of awareness as a method; by making a system sustainability through innovative means that will definitely work. Sachin’s life goal is to start an NGO for education of underprivileged children

What's a simple way of reducing food waste that you've seen in your local community?

Delia: We have the world’s oldest food rescue organization here in New York, called City Harvest, and I often see their refrigerated trucks and cargo bicycles making pickups and deliveries of surplus food around the city.  We also have a few excellent community compost programs, run by grassroots organizations like the Lower East Side Ecology Center and BIG Reuse, which provide locations for food scrap drop-off, making it possible for households to compost their waste.  And finally, the numerous small grocery stores that sell nearly-overripe produce at a discount provide encouragement to buy and use fresh produce right away.

Sachin: I think the simplest way to reduce food waste comes in two stages; don't make excess food and give away excess food to the needy. The bakery near my house does both. They optimized the food they make according to the part of the year and the days of the week. Also, they give away whatever is left to a local orphanage. They optimized the consumption so much that on many days, they have to prepare extra food so the kids in the orphanage won’t go hungry.

Which inspiration posts caught your eye so far in the Research phase?

Sachin: The posts that use rituals as a way of saving food like, " Eat your rice for the sake of your future husband's face…," inspire me. It is unusual for a social worker, but I do not believe in awareness. I believe in fool-proofing the system until the desired outcome is reached, or until a change is brought about. Using rituals can bring about change very easily. I believe that in order to bring about a change, we need to have either a cane or a bunch of cash or something like a ritual. Striking an emotional chord of awareness may not be adequate all the time.

Delia: I'm inspired by the contributions highlighting products made from waste or oversupply, like the Kirirom Food Production business making dried fruit snacks from surplus mangoes in Cambodia.  Similarly, I’m intrigued by the contributions exploring specific waste products that occur in large quantities, like coffee grounds or spent grain from brewing - I’m excited about the volume of waste that could be prevented by repurposing these materials.  I’m also interested in exploring ways to prevent food from being wasted before the final product is sold, as highlighted by the post called “ What We Waste” which explores the problem of only selling and using the most commonly used parts of vegetables.  

Join Delia, Sachin and the rest of the OpenIDEO community on the Food Waste Challenge!

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