28 Oct 2015
Catalonia, Spain
Organic Food and Agriculture

Do you know how many hungry mouths could be fed by 88 million tons of food? The answer is “a lot,” and that is why it is so alarming that this figure represents not the amount of food produced by a country, but the amount wasted annually in the European Union alone.

This is the pressing issue being addressed by Espigoladors, a Catalonia-based association that has taken a social business approach to food waste.

The challenge — and the solution

According to Espigoladors, the problem with food waste is three-tiered, and any solution must address the social, environmental, and economic importance of battling this common issue.

One of the main causes of food waste happens before it even reaches our plates: it is the fruit and vegetables that are deemed unfit to sell because of aesthetic reasons such as an odd shape or blemish. Often times shops or restaurants discard these overripe, imperfect fruits and vegetables, leaving their value uneaten. To combat this, Espigoladors collects the unwanted food, donating 95% of what they gather to social institutions that distribute it to people who have a difficult time accessing fresh and healthy food. Not only gathering the food from shops and grocery stores, Espigoladors also collects surplus crops from local farmers.

The remaining 5% is transformed into natural and handmade preserves which are sold and marketed under the brand name Es Im-perfect (it is im-perfect). Along the way, Espigoladors engages with people who are usually excluded from conversations related to food security, creating a more inclusive and healthy society as a whole.

On a regular basis, Espigoladors runs sensitization campaigns and workshops targeting various audiences. These educational moments wish to teach people about the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables, and how they are still healthy and tasty even if they do not meet the conventional aesthetic norms of commercial produce.

“This initiative illustrates a global problem at a local level, and establishes synergies between different organizations, with the participation of people from groups that are at risk of social exclusion,” Espigoladors says. “Our business model is oriented with this social mission.”

 

Website: www.espigoladors.cat/en
Facebook: www.facebook.com/espigoladors
Instagram: www.instagram.com/esimperfect

Photos: Courtesy of Espigoladors

 

Espigoladors Organic food and agriculture
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