Have you ever wondered, what happens to the excess food that doesn't get sold by the markets? Well, as you can probably imagine, the sad truth is that it usually goes to waste. It is a fairly common occurrence: several tons of viable food are being wasted every day, all around the world, with estimates from the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) ranging around 1.3 billion tons per year, and Germany is no exception.
FoodSharing.de is a voluntary organisation started in 2012 that aims at adding extra layers of distribution before the food reaches the bin. The organisation gets in touch with the businesses and arranges pick-up times for their excess food. You, as a private person, can sign up for the pick up and collect the leftover products. Then you can consume, share, or bring to a Fairteiler - a location open for the public to pick up the goods for free! (more on that later)
Hannah Dehning, the Representative for Migration and Studies at the AStA Oldenburg, was explaining to me how it works. "As a person, all you need to do is register on their website. You will have to answer a quiz from the organisation, read the rules for the pickup, then you will gain access to an overview of all of the markets and can sign up for their pick-up appointments."
Oldenburg is also a part of the FoodSharing network. There are several markets around town that are registered, like Irma, Edeka, Denn's, amongst many others offering pick-up dates every week!
"The food given by them is usually either out of the expiry date, or not looking so pretty anymore. But sometimes you can get lucky and receive relatively new products! If the supermarket buys fresh products, and they still have not sold all of their current supply, they will often also give away these goods that are completely fine."
But you don't need to be a FoodSaver yourself to participate in the FoodSharing and help reduce food waste in our city! As mentioned above, one option is to pass by a Fairteiler location (Fairteiler is a play on words with the german word verteilen, which means share). These locations offer structure for you as a FoodSaver to bring your saved goods that you would like to share.
The AStA Uni Oldenburg is a FairTeiler location, with a fridge and shelves! There are also other FairTeiler locations in Oldenburg, you can always check on the FoodSharing website.
However, during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, access to the FairTeiler locations may be limited, as it is the case in the AStA. Thats where the Share'n'Care project comes in!
"We wanted to create an outdoor Fairteiler to compensate for the absence of the Fairteiler room in AStA. We also wanted to expand the awareness of the FoodSharing to new students!". Hannah is one of the organisers of Share'n Care, together with other members from AStA, the ISO and the Evangelische StudierendenGemeinde in Schützenweg. "We rescue food through the FoodSharing system, then we offer an open-air stand at the Evangelische Gemeinde (Schützenweg 40) every second and fourth Friday of the month, starting at 17:30, where anyone can pass by and grab what they would like to consume."
Hannah and all of the organisers from Snare'n'Care would be happy to see even more faces at their FoodSharing action, and you are all invited to come and grab your saved goodies free of charge! Make sure to bring your mask, a pair of clean gloves for handling the food, and a bag for carrying your food. Follow us on instagram at @hgasuol and @asta_uol, where the dates and times will be confirmed every time (and also you get to see pictures of the goodies you might expect to get ahead of time). Feel free to share it with your colleagues as well!
I was very happy to learn more about the FoodSharing system, and how it's working here in Oldenburg. If you would like to know more about it, or maybe if you would be interested in also taking part and helping them with the project, Hannah kindly offered her email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) so feel free to send her a message. Thank you Hannah for the nice introduction! :)