Earlier this year, France became the first country in the world to ban supermarkets from throwing away or destroying unused food, and instead giving it to food banks and charities.
The law passed unanimously through the French Senate after a massive grassroots campaign led by shoppers, anti-poverty campaigners, and people opposed to food waste - including 210,000 people on Change.org.
This campaign inspired millions of people around the world to think about food waste in their own lives and communities, and what they could do to stop it. With 30-40% of our food currently being wasted, there’s a lot to do.
We our excited to announce that we are partnering with The Huffington Post on its new ‘Reclaim’ campaign to empower people to do something to end food waste.
Over the next few months, we will be featuring great campaigns started by Huffington Post readers and the global Change.org community who are tackling this issue. Follow the Movement or start your petition at www.Change.org/Reclaim.
I caught up with Jo Confino, the Executive Editor of Impact and Innovation at The Huffington Post, who has been spearheading this project.
Brianna: Why is The Huffington Post going so deep on this campaign?
Jo: It’s part of our attempt to showcase how a media company can create positive change in the word. It’s part of an evolution of our “what’s working” approach to journalism.
There are many challenges in the world and the media tends to just tell you the bad news. That makes people feel disengaged and disempowered. We believe that you can be honest about the problems, but there are always solutions. And we want to work with our audience to create change.
Brianna: Who is part of this campaign?
Jo: We will be the global media platform that demonstrates the art of possibility when you bring together citizens who want to see change with NGOs and campaign experts like Change.org. We will use the power of our audience to create very practical change that we know. Together, we will be better and stronger than the sum of our parts.
Brianna: Why food waste?
Jo: We are living on a planet with finite resources but we’re treating our planet like a trash can. We’ve gotten into the habit of being incredibly wasteful. Previous generations took care of what they owned and were careful with stuff. We’ve lost that sense and have become a throw away society.
The first part of this campaign is around food waste because we were looking for a topic people feel a real connection to. When you look at instagram and there are over 175 million #food photos. People really love food they eat, but have become disconnected from where it comes from and the interconnectedness of the food system to every other system.
Our hope with this campaign is to reconnect people to a real passion point and connect them to ways to make real change.
Brianna: What can people expect from this campaign?
Jo: First of all, we want to really raise awareness of the issue. We have the data, and many of the solutions to food waste are staring us in the face. We also want to help readers understand that they can do a tremendous amount.
We’re starting with a 30-day challenge that helps people shop better, store their food better, and turn scraps into great meals. And finally, we want people to know how they can activate change on a bigger basis through supporting and starting campaigns on Change.org.
Brianna: Anything surprising or shocking that you’ve learned about food waste in preparing for this campaign?
Jo: If food waste was a country, it would be the 3rd biggest carbon emitter after the U.S. and China. That is shocking. This is not just about food being thrown away. The food system links to every other system on the planet.
Brianna: Any final thoughts?
Jo: Traditionally, the media has seen itself as separate and seen our role as an observer. But we don’t think the media should feel isolated from everyone else. There are moments when we can and should collaborate with civil society to create change. And this is one of those moments.
Follow www.Change.org/Reclaim to be part of the movement.