Sparked by France’s passage of a recent law making it illegal for supermarkets to waste food, Al Jazeera produced a 30 minute piece on an issue central to GKI’s work on innovation for global development: food loss. France’s bold new law forces stores to donate unsold food to charities or animal feed instead of discarding it. GKI’s co-founder and Chief Operating Officer Sara Farley appeared live on Al Jazeera’s television program The Stream to discuss food waste and spoilage, balancing the French perspective with a global one infused by GKI’s work as a Social Innovation Lab on Food Waste and Spoilage for the Rockefeller Foundation. The panel, which included Corin Bell of the Real Junk Food Project, Jenny Rustemeyer of Just Eat It, and JoAnne Berkenkamp of the Natural Resources Defense Council, largely centered around food waste (food that reaches the market but is discarded and not consumed) in the developed world. Conversely, Sara brought a unique perspective to the panel by stressing the importance of reducing food loss during harvest and post-harvest storage, processing, handling, and preservation. With widespread ramifications, post-harvest food loss contributes to lost wages, lost food, and decreased health in the developing world.
“Globally, policy innovations that target farmers—as opposed to super markets alone—have a bigger impact on reducing post harvest lost,” Sara noted. “It’s a problem that reduces the income of 470 million farmers in Africa. We need to think holistically about food loss in a way that puts farmers centrally in the picture, together with consumers, policymakers, purchasers, and researchers. Many innovative initiatives in Africa are lighting the way for how these approaches can work.” One such innovation is Project Nurture, a Gates Foundation initiative to reduce food loss in the mango sector of Kenya led by TechnoServe and Coca Cola, both of whom participated in GKI’s Collaboration Colloquium, held in Nairobi, Kenya in February 2015 as part of GKI’s Social Innovation Lab on Food Waste and Spoilage initiative. Project Nurture is a great example of how a multi-sectoral approach can reduce loss and improve incomes. GKI was thrilled to be a part of this unique opportunity to draw more attention to the pressing global issue of food waste and spoilage and hopes to continue the discussion on the international stage!