Food in the City – August 2020 Meetup – Zero Waste Along the Food Chain

On the last Wednesday of every month, Farmlyplace hosts a monthly meetup called ‘Food in the city’. Here, you will get an opportunity to network in a relaxed manner. Every meetup we invite food in the city advocates to talk about a certain theme and share their innovative work and the challenges/opportunities they face. Hence, we provide a space to generate new ideas and collaborations around the topic and look for or provide a solution.

Another benefit of networking in such a local manner is that you get to know more about how you may be able to help or play a role in local businesses/organisations around you. Currently we are based in Berlin, however you are always welcome to join the online format of meetups from anywhere in the world and get inspired to learn about similar businesses/organisations in your community afterwards. Our blogs will keep you updated with our key takeaways from these meetups such as the challenges, suggestions or potential solutions on the respective topics.

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August’s Meetup theme was ‘Zero Waste Along The Food Chain’. We discovered how some businesses are not just reducing, but also transforming the waste along the food chain. Going zero waste is good for the economy, environment and our communities. 

Here’s a bit about our speakers:

  • We had Dina from Circular Berlin. Dina introduced the application of circular economy to reduce food waste on the producer’s end about the possibilities of using waste to derive nutrients from it. For example, using coffee waste to grow mushrooms. At Circular Berlin you may learn more about the circular economy through various projects, workshops & the community. 
  • Peter from Isla Cafe pointed out how more food waste takes place at the hospitality and consumer end and not much at the production end. Cafes are more frequently accessible than restaurants. So it becomes important to consider reducing food waste. Hence, at Isla, they are applying a circular economy to utilise every food product without wasting it. He told us about some future plans and their feasibility around going zero waste.
  • Next we had Jasmine from FREA, a vegan restaurant producing no waste! They do not have any garbage cans. Using composting machine processes they turn their waste into soil substitute within 24 hours. This can be given back to the farmers that supply their produce. Jasmine described how, at FREA, they carefully consider where they buy the products, how they are packaged, how they scale it according to the customer, finding & reducing the potential food waste. She also talked about challenges of vegan food businesses.
  • Luiza introduced us to foodsharing.de, where consumers, retailers and individuals can offer or gather food that would some way or another be discarded. This is totally free, and capacities on account of voluntary effort using an online platform. On their website https://foodsharing.de/ you can learn more about how the food sharing works and get involved.
  • Benefit of the online meetups is that we can get to learn from people located anywhere in the world. One such speaker was Vivian from Groundcycle who joined us from New York City. This is what New York times (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/09/nyregion/nyc-compost-recycling.html)  says about Vivian – “People like Vivian Lin, who quit her job at an architecture firm to start a composting business, have helped fill the void after the city suspended curbside organic waste collection.” At Groundcycle, they are trying to close the loop between produce and compost by doing farm-fresh food deliveries and organic waste pickups through door-to-door Bin Swaps. You may explore their story in detail here: https://groundcycle.org/about.php
  • Coral Ruz from Zero Waste Berlin Festival shared his experience of building an international community on the zero waste theme. At Zero Waste Berlin Festival you can find informative talks, workshops, meetups, exhibitions and much more done in an international frame which makes it widely inclusive and easy to join.  Find some interesting ways to get new day to day zero waste ideas from their blog: https://zerowasteberlinfestival.com/blog/
  • Want to know your shade of green? Meg Koch shared her work on how she provides consultation to individuals, kitas, schools and small businesses to discover their shade of green – a sustainability approach that works for them and their exclusive needs. Make sure to check her microblogs on instagram at https://www.instagram.com/discoveryourshadeofgreen/ 

So what was our major takeaway from our speakers & participants? As we learnt about different practices to attain zero waste at our homes and offices, we came across one major notable learning – Composting! These are some of the interesting methods mentioned in the meetup:

+ Bokashi (Japanese word which translates to ‘fermented organic matter’) If you want to avoid the foul smell while composting, this method is for you. It involves layering kitchen waste with a Bokashi inoculant having effective microorganisms (EM) in a peculiar container. 

+ Terra Preta (Portuguese word which translates to ‘black soil’) Self made Terra Preta is uncommonly wealthy in nutrients and guarantees long haul soil richness and high returns.

+  Wurmkiste (German word which translates to ‘worm box’) a method of vermicomposting using earthworms in boxes suitable for use at homes or other indoor environments.

You will find some of these interesting learning outcomes in separate blog posts where you can gain more insights on them. Curious to get to know some people who are addressing real-life problems around us in our day to day life and are transforming these problems into solutions through the lens of sustainability? Then wait no further and sign up for our next online meetup here. See you there! 🙂

This post is also available in: English (Englisch)

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