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Using social media to reduce food waste

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Using social media to reduce food waste

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A whole heap of food is wasted around the world each year.  According to the UN, around 30% of all food fails to make it from the farm to our dinner tables, with no doubt much of what does make it wasted courtesy of our eating and shopping habits.

With the global population rising rapidly, the issue of how to meet the expanding nutritional requirements of the 7 billion or so people expected to soon inhabit the earth is a serious one.

A farm in California may have some lessons for us all in how to use social media to reduce food waste.  Bloomfield Farms found that they had a large volume of unsold produce at the end of each day that would spoil before they could attempt to sell it on again the following day.

Rather than send that otherwise perfectly fine produce to the tip, they began offering it at a large discount to followers of their Facebook page.  Each Sunday evening they would update their followers with the food available and the discount being offered.

The experiment prompted the farm to create CropMobster.com, a site that aims to bring together farms, charities and local businesses to ensure that food does not go to waste.

“I don’t believe we should let it go to waste,” founder Nick Papadopoulos said. “I believe we should share it, donate it, whatever it takes. And if possible, as farmers, we would like to recover a small portion of our costs.”

The site launched in March and since then has ensured that over 20,000kg of food has been put to use rather than being put out to waste.

Of course farm waste is only part of the problem.  Earlier this year UK retailer Tesco revealed that the average family wastes £700 of groceries every year.  As consumers we can do much to reduce food waste by being more sensible with the purchases we make.

Supermarkets are equally culpable.  An announcement was made earlier this year that will see the major UK grocers direct unsold food to the homeless and otherwise impoverished people of the UK.  Maybe it would be easier if they just signed up to CropMobster.

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