OLIO : The Food Sharing Revolution
OLIO, the food sharing smartphone app, launches in Newcastle to help reduce food waste.
Yesterday was our village summer fete and as usual I helped out with the tombola stand. The great thing about organising a tombola is that you get the chance to go through your kitchen cupboards and donate all the tins and bottles that you just know will never be consumed. True to form, our village tombola table had an array of tinned fruit, cuppa soup and chocolate liqueurs, but with sufficient bottles of wine to bring in the punters!
Tombola stand at our village fete
Discovering unused food in the back of the cupboard can be a irritating, particularly when you don’t remember buying it in the first place. You wouldn’t be alone in chucking it in the bin. The average family throws out £60 worth of food every week. Nationally we bin a staggering 4.2 million tonnes of household food a year (1). Now, OLIO is providing smartphone users throughout Newcastle with a simple way to reduce the food they waste.
OLIO held their Newcastle launch at EcoFest earlier this month and I met up with community marketing campaigner Ben Cullen who explained the free app to me. It connects neighbours with each other and with local independent shops so surplus food can be shared, not thrown away. This could include food nearing its use-by date from shops, cafes and markets; spare vegetables from the allotment; cakes from an amateur baker; or groceries from household fridges when people go away or move home.
“Newcastle has been one of our most active cities in terms of food sharing happening organically.”The inspiration for the app came from the early experiences of co-founders Tessa Cook and Saasha Celestial-One, entrepreneurs raised in rural families witnessing the scandal of food waste close up. Cook grew up on a farm, effectively seeing a third of her family’s hard work go to waste, while Celestial-One is the daughter of Iowa hippies and equally passionate about the issue. “Newcastle has been one of our most active cities in terms of food sharing happening organically. The city has a brilliant community of people who are passionate about reducing food waste and the contribution that can be made at a local level,” says Saasha.
So back to our village summer fete, and the infamous tombola. Whilst the odds of winning something are pretty good, the odds of winning something you don’t want are also high. I came away with a tin of chicken curry, which isn’t really compatible with a vegetarian diet! So, instead of putting it to the back of my kitchen cupboard, I’ve posted it on OLIO and look forward to somebody coming forward who will appreciate it.
Links to the smartphone apps for OLIO are available through their website here.
(1) Use your loaf and save billions, WRAP