For a community to thrive, it’s crucial that people, businesses and governments create sustainable value for one another. This approach to building products, ecosystems and lifestyles will count impact as a key cost and continue to inspire global innovation for years to come. With this in mind, it seemed only fitting that our Future of Food event saw a community of young, progressive entrepreneurs, come together to set the wheels in motion for a more sustainable future.
Between 70 and 80 percent of the world’s water is used in farming, and one third of the world’s harvest is lost from field to plate every day. With the global population growing by over 70 million per year, and numbers set to hit 10 billion by 2050, the rate at which we are currently exploiting our essential resources is simply not viable.
To tackle statistics this big, everyone must start small. Half of all food waste takes place in our homes, in small, micro quantities, so we have become normalized to the idea that it is acceptable. Monetised, it is thoughtless waste of £700 per year per household. Our tasting hub showcased a variety of food and drink created by several sustainable businesses, and demonstrated just how avoidable this waste is. Chic P served delicious hummus made from surplus vegetables, reminding us that the opportunity to change habits profitably is possible.
Saasha Celestial-One, co-founder of OLIO, is tackling the problem head on. Launched in 2015, the OLIO app is creating a sharing economy around excess; It’s biggest competitor is the bin. Today alone, four OLIO users have come to PROPERCORN HQ to pick up fresh popcorn that we simply weren’t going to eat.
Material waste wasn’t the only issue on our agenda, as we considered the carelessness with which we exploit our natural resources. According to Neil Whippey, co-founder of edible insect company, Grub, “a family of four, eating insect protein one day a week for one year, would save the earth 650,000 litres of fresh water a year.” With a statistic about as palatable as meal worm, Whippy’s determination to find a solution to our unsustainable lifestyle calls into question why more of us aren’t.
In both art and business, ingenuity is not always accepted straight away. Mark Shayler of APE and The Do Lectures, explained that until now, ‘sustainable solutions’ were usually far ahead of the curve and often rejected, “This is not about tree hugging,” he said. “This is about being honest, and having provenance.” He celebrates the big idea of doing better things, rather than making each thing a little better.
Throughout the afternoon, we were reminded that we are in a literal and physical climate of change, thick with the pressure for improvement. Fundamentally, the problem isn’t just about the future of food, it’s about the future of everything. As Agnes Gendry-Hern, Creative Buyer at Lush, explained, “We’re not saving the planet, the planet can survive without us perfectly well. What we’re saving is ourselves.” It’s both our responsibility and a fantastic opportunity to grab the bull by the horns, and we look forward to sharing more of our journey in the months that follow.
A big thanks also to UGLY, Adnams, Richard Hochfeld Ltd, Chic P, Cru Kafé, Tribe, Snact., Direct Produce Supplies, and Rubies in the Rubble for sharing their delicious, mission-led food and drink. Equally, to the team from Scriberia who, armed with a black marker, transformed two, empty whiteboards into an illustration of our Food’s Future.