Milan Design Week 2016 meets Food for Soul

 In occasion of Milan Design Week, Food for Soul will welcome visitors at Refettorio Ambrosiano and officially announce its partnership with Grundig 

Refettorio Ambrosiano will be one of the main sites of next Milan Design Week: by offering a rich calendar of initiatives, it will open its doors to visitors from April, 12th to 17th. The core event will be the exposition of  “Ut nutum”, a specific-site installation created by the Italian architect Anna Barbara. Besides offering a vision on the symbolic value of light, Barbara wants to promote the mission of Food for Soul: the artwork, in fact, is made from industrial textile waste that will now represent a source of beauty and creativity. “Milan Design Week is the most important cultural event in Milan and all over Italy; Refettorio Ambrosiano has to be part of it so to show its projectual ability through useful and beautiful objects”, the cultural curator Davide Rampello declared. The closing event at Refettorio will be on Sunday, April 17th, where the space will host a lunch cooked by Andrea Aprea, chef of VUN restaurant in Milan.

But Food for Soul won’t only stop in Piazza Greco: it will leave the place where it was born to meet the public at the Design Fair. Here Grundig will officially present the partnership with our association, so to confirm its commitment for environmental sustainability and in the fight against food waste. Italian chefs that have already been involved at Refettorio Ambrosiano will present anti-waste recipes for Grundig, by following the same philosophy of Food for Soul. Among those, there will be Viviana Varese, Ugo Alciati, the Costardi brothers and Matias Perdomo. It will be a unique occasion to share and promote the common cause against hunger and food waste.

European supermarkets declare battle against food waste

Initiatives tackling food waste from supermarket shelves are becoming more frequent and successful all over Europe. What can be defined as a growing tendency is already affecting policy makers from several countries.

In order to succeed, you have to know your enemy. And conceiving food waste as a single issue might not be the winning strategy: as a reflection of the complexity of food system, food waste involves a growing number of actors and scenarios that might lead to always different consequences into the faceted, multi-dimensional issue.

When addressed on specific segments of the food chain, the fight may result more effective and successful: that’s what some European countries are trying to do within the context of supermarkets. Both private initiatives and public laws are going into the same direction in order to minimize food wastage, educate consumers and raise public awareness.

The first virtuous example came from France, where in 2014 the supermarket chain Intermarché launched the successful campaign Les fruits et légumes moches (The inglorious fruits and vegetables): they collected and sold 30% off all those fruits and vegetables that did not match sale standards – because they were ugly, deformed and bruised. At first consumers were reluctant, but Intermarché introduced soups and juices made from the ugly products so to convince consumers that they tasted exactly the same. The response was positive, and the campaign quickly went viral and attracted both public and media attention. The French Government became even more sensitive to the issue and in February 2016, the Senate approved an anti-food waste law: any supermarket with a footprint of 400 square metres or larger is now required to donate surplus food to charities and food banks. Following this positive wave, Intermarché hasn’t stopped. It recently introduced Les biscuits moches (The inglorious cookies): all cookies that were broken and crumbled along the production chain are now sold 30% off in special packages.

Italy is also following the same path. Just one month after the launch of the law in France, the Italian Chamber of Parliament approved a bill for food recovery that is now waiting for the final vote in the Senate. Unlike France who punishes defaulting companies by fine, Italy wants to encourage any kind of food business to donate surplus by offering reductions on rubbish taxes. Within the limits of health and hygiene safety, the law will also allow food suppliers to donate food after the “best before” date and will make the entire process of donation easier and safer for both donors and receiving institutions.

Another inspiring private initiative is the Danish WeFood supermarket. This Copenhagen based business has dedicated an entire store to selling products that otherwise may have been thrown in a dumpster. These still edible ingredients are being sold at a discounted prices for both consumers in need and those who are sensitive to the issue. Are the encouraging signs of a growing European awareness on these pressing issues the beginning of a larger movement towards stopping food waste across Europe as a whole? We hope so.

Photo credits: Intermarché

New edition of MAD at the Sydney Opera House

Massimo Bottura will be one of the speakers in the new chapter of MAD symposium which is being held outside of Denmark for the first time. On April 3rd, the Italian chef will be joining René Redzepi , Chido Govera, David Chang, Kylie Kwong, and Rebecca Huntley.

What is the future of food?

That is the question this Mad Symposium is asking to six speakers on April 3rd at the Sydney Opera House. The symposium, usually held in Copenhagen in August, is taking place in Sydney at the close of Noma’s temporary pop-up in Sydney.

MAD is a non-profit organization founded by chef René Redzepi, “that aims to build a community of cooks, purveyors, thinkers, and food enthusiasts with an appetite for knowledge and desire to create a better world through a better meal.” Among the symposium speakers there will be chef David Chang, the australian television presenter and chef Kylie Kwong and the founder of Food for Soul, Italian chef Massimo Bottura of Osteria Francescana.

But this event is not just about chefs. To include different points of view on the future of food, MAD also invited the Zimbabwean activist and farmer Chido Govera, who runs a The Future of Hope Foundation to empower orphans from the developing world through mushroom farming. The second Australian voice in the panel will be Rebecca Huntley, social researcher and expert on social trends as well as author of “Does Cooking Matter?”.