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Mundane Matters: inspire a sustainable way to consume food, one story a day

How can we make awareness to food waste memorable and effective?

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My journey building Mundane Matters shows eating mindfully can help reduce food waste. As background, Mundane Matters creates food sculptures and sensory experiences using natural ingredients, mostly fruits and vegetables. I have been making food sculptures every day since May 2015. Ever since then, it has become a practice to inspire myself and others to live sustainably from the food consumption perspective.

You can learn more on mundanematters.co But I would like to share a brief story behind how I travel to this point from initially having the practice as a way to meditate - nothing to do with fighting against food waste.

When I started this practice three years ago, it was more like a meditation which I could immerse myself into purely appreciating a produce, for example, a pumpkin or a lime, before or after I cooked my meals. Like many people, I used to take fruits and vegetables for granted. I never really thought that they are part of nature, that they also have their own unique beauty, that billion tons of them are being wasted every year because of our ignorance.  

But as the hidden beauty in a fruit or vegetable is unfolded in my hand, I asked myself, if these creations are as beautiful as a real sculpture, how can we easily throw a fresh fruit to the bin while treasuring a sculpture forever? If every fruit and vegetable is beautiful, why don’t we treat them all equally and why do we bin the ‘ugly’ ones?

It made me realise this practice has completely changed my behaviour from a consumer’s perspective. From imperfect picks to shopping and cooking ethically to leftover to food containers (plastic waste), I’ve become more mindful about the impact from what I eat and how I eat could possibly bring to our environment.  

This is what happened in my case: when we keep doing something consistently, it will change our perception.  

And this is what I want to do to inspire others too. As I am committed to making one fruit and vegetable sculpture everyday and sharing with many others on Instagram, I’ve received feedback about how my images and stories have inspired people to consume food in a much more positive manner, either from saving their leftover, or an imperfect fruit, or simply eating more responsibly.  

I believe bringing awareness is not just a one-off advertising campaign, but a persistent passion that penetrates people’s life everyday. I will continue exploring the hidden beauty of fruits and vegetables and see what else I will come up to help the world’s food security problems.

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

This challenge sits in the intersection of mindfulness, creativity and sustainability. It speaks to people in a creative, playful yet informative way.

Tell us about your work experience:

My name is Danling Xiao. I am a graphic designer and digital strategist based in Sydney.

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DeletedUser

This is such an interesting project. Food is an everyday material that we may use mindlessly but so often cooking can be about pride and satisfaction in doing something well. The process of creating with food can encourage mindfulness and also force the consumer to look at choices around food more carefully.