Natural catastrophes have the power of radically changing lives. People who once had the luxury of eating out and even disposing leftovers, in a matter of seconds, have literally nothing to feed themselves. Situations like these open our eyes and make us think about the amount of food waste we produce and the efforts we must make through technology, food policies and our own consumption habits to improve the efficiency of our food systems, even in emergency scenarios.
A simple, yet effective example is one in the streets of India, where restaurant Pappadavada has installed community fridges for customers to ditch the doggy bag and rather place their leftovers for others to take. The owner, Ms. Pauline, came up with the idea after seeing a woman looking for food in her restaurant’s trash, realizing how much food she was wasting every day. Food waste not only represents leaving an unwanted leftover in the trash but a thoughtless waste of society’s resources.
The fridge has become a community hub and has been nicknamed nanma maram, meaning “tree of goodness”. And it truly is, since anyone who needs to eat can take what they please, just as if it was a fruit tree providing democratic food without the complexities of our food systems. Win-win initiatives such as this innovative food idea where resources are optimized and waste is reduced, should serve as examples to achieve a conscious, functioning, and united society.
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