Monday, May 13, 2013

The Scrap Lunch Project

The great revolutions in human history have often been brought about by new ideas: by new ways of seeing that have shattered old certainties.” (Robinson, 2011 pp. xvi) 

Food waste is not something that is considered to be of much importance to the average European. In fact, each person wastes between 90-115 kg of food every year; the consequences of which threaten sometimes seemingly distant and complex issues including climate change, resource scarcity, illegal migrant labor, the recently coined diabesity epidemic, poverty, climbing global food prices, air pollution, and hypoxia just to name a few.

According to Tristram Stuart (Tristram Stuart: The global food waste scandal [video], 2012), food waste occurs within all stages of the food industry from agricultural production, processing and grading; to distribution, supermarket retail, the service sector, and in our own homes.

Developed countries are the worst offenders, hoarding huge stockpiles of surplus food and throwing away perfectly edible produce as a result of supermarket specifications regarding shape and size, and aesthetic variation that occurs naturally and has no ill-effect on the edibility of food whatsoever. 

Consumers, for decades and more so in recent years, have been throwing out items according to packaging labels with little thought given to whether the food being discarded is actually edible or not. This is where The Scrap Lunch Project finds its niche.

Ken Robinson, author of Out of Our Minds (2nd ed., 2011), believes that in order for humanity to respond to the inevitable challenges that lie ahead, the world must loosen its grasp on old-fashioned educational systems that have been institutionalized since the industrial era and no longer serve a purpose fit for our future. As a society, we are progressing from a period when growth equaled progress to one of progress without growth but how can this be done? 

Robinson (2nd ed., 2011) anticipates the necessity for creative thinking and innovation in all areas, employing emotion and reason to promote a cultural shift. Meadows (2001) agrees, stating that “Systems thinking by itself cannot bridge that gap. But it can lead us to the edge of what analysis can do an then point beyond-to what can and must be done by the human spirit.” 

Through AtKisson’s (2011) exploration of ‘the tragedy of the commons’ as the rationalization behind human apathy and the voluntary ignorance shown towards the great tribulations of our time, it is imperative that The Scrap Lunch Project employs collaboration and creativity to deploy messages to the student community that are received with both emotion and reason. It’s not an easy gig.


AtKisson, A. 2011, Believing Cassandra: How to be an Optimist in a Pessimist’s World, 2nd Ed., Earthscan, London 

Meadows, D. 2001, ‘Dancing with systems’, in Whole Earth, winter 2001 

Robinson, K. 2011, Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative, revised edition, Capstone Publishing, United Kingdom 

Tristram Stuart: The global food waste scandal [video], 2012 London: TED Conferences, LLC.

1 comment:

  1. People throwing out food on blind faith in an arbitrary date stamp drive me nuts!


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