In an attempt to help fight food waste, I got involved with Foodsharing last month! To my surprise, I found a kind, well-organized community that had been completely invisible to me before! :O A thread (specific to German-speaking countries)!

On, you can sign up to see a map of food items that people want to give away. During the pandemic, these will often be in boxes, either outside, or in buildings' entrances, which you can just go and collect!

For the past two weeks, I got the majority of my food from these boxes, here's an example of perfectly good fruits and vegetables, which would otherwise have been thrown away! 😋

But there's a whole second layer behind all this, and this is where it gets wild! Because, you might ask, where does all this food come from? Sure, some of this, people bought and for some reason don't want to eat themselves. Some might've been acquired via dumpster diving. But!

The Foodsharing community has negotiated official cooperations with a lot of businesses of all sizes. The deal: before they throw food away (because it's after its "best-before date", or has gone a bit mushy), they allow Foodsharing teams to pick it up!

I was blown away by how many businesses take part, here's a map! This is not in competition with charitable organizations like food banks ("Tafeln"), which get priority. The simple goal is that as little food as possible is wasted.

And if you want, you can help out in this second layer, as well! I missed this when I first checked out the website, but this wiki is the entry point – you'll want to become a "foodsaver":

This process is surprisingly regulated and standardized. You read through the information on the wiki, and then, to make sure you know about the etiquette & the rules of conduct, you take a quiz. Then, people will get in touch with you, and give you an in-person introduction.

I think this access regulation is important because it would be easier for the businesses to just throw the food away, compared to coordinating with Foodsharing. So the community is careful to make the process as easy and as pleasant as they can.

Anyway, took the quiz, and yesterday, for the first time, was part of a 4-person team collecting food from a medium-sized supermarket nearby! Foodsharing teams go there every day, at the same time. And yet, I was absolutely stunned by how much food we could save!

I borrowed a friend's cargo bike, and filled it to the brim: Fresh mushrooms. Quark. A grapefruit. A pumpkin. 2 apricots. 2 bottles of salad dressing. 2 heads of lettuce. 2 liters of milk. 2 melons. 2 peaches. 2 sweet potatoes. 2 slices of cake. 3 bags of grapes.

3 cups of yoghurt. 3 croissants. 3 packs of fresh raspberries, yum! 3 pears. 4 lemons. 5 sticks of rhubarb. 6 packs of sausage. 6 oranges. 7 bread rolls. 9 sliced loafs of bread. 10 apples. 20 limes. 30 chili peppers, and 60 (!) bananas.

This is one fourth of what the supermarket would otherwise have thrown away on a single day! From what the more experienced foodsavers said, this is by no means unusual.

After that, distributing the food was also really fun! Friends who live in the area got a lot of it, and several people who walked by took some bananas! Usually, there's a public "Fairteiler" fridge (a pun on Verteiler = distributor) in the university, but it's currently closed.

I cut up, juiced, preserved, or froze much of what was left; other friends offered to take some items; and finally, I put the remaining things I couldn't find any use for back on the Foodsharing map. They were mostly gone at sunset. Full circle!

All of this makes me really happy. :) It just seems like a win-win situation for everyone involved! I kinda wish there were laws preventing food waste altogether, but I guess a nice volunteer community scaling itself up to fix this problem is the second best thing.

You can get involved, if you want! <3 Feel free to ask questions. And thanks for reading!



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