Jeffrey Levine
Jeffrey Levine
Blogger, Entrepreneur, and Philanthropist

Food Waste – a key battlefront for climate change

This blog is being shared on the occasion of the COP26 summit bringing world leaders and activists to accelerate action on climate change. https://ukcop26.org and in honour of all the farmers during Shmitta year in Israel.

The featured video is a Ted Talk by Michal Bitterman, CEO  of  http://lovefoodnotwaste.co.il/en

While there will be a lot of hot air and lots of calls for action, one area where all can make an impact is Food Waste.

The Problem

The cost of food waste in the UK is GBP 10.2 Billion, in Israel, net US$ 4 Billion the USA a staggering $161 billion.

Food Waste is a major worldwide Problem, The EU subsidizes over Euro 40 billion to Farmers in the EU. There are huge Imbalances in this important human need. There is an inert need to oversupply because of the risk of food shortages. Currently, Waste is in excess of 2.5 billion tons with a high cost of $400 billion a year and In Europe 40- 60 % of all Fish caught is discarded.

Besides the direct cost, there is also the Environmental Impact.

Today, there is Technology to help determine which crops are best to grow, conserve water, measure output, and more. Going forward, the adoption of Blockchain will help reduce this unnecessary waste and increase efficiency in both Farm Management and Food Distribution.

So, what can be done about this?

In all the talk of climate change, one area where it is possible to change is in Food. From the Agriculture process – farming efficiency, coordination of supply and demand, distribution, Retail, restaurants to our home.

Taking a leaf out of Leket Israel battle against Food Waste.

Let’s look at what is happening in Israel. – Israel is blessed with much technology and non-profits making an Impact. One organization that is leading this battle to rescue food in Israel is Leket.

I had the privilege of a zoom call with the founder of Leket https://www.leket.org/en/   – Joseph Gitler to see how they are tackling the problem of Food Waste in Israel and how they rose to the challenges of Covid.

Leket’ s core activities are:

  • to rescue cooked food from Hotels, Restaurants, function halls and distribute approx. 3000 meals a day.
  • Working with the farming community to arrange to pick, store, distribute fruits and vegetables that cannot be picked.
  • Produce an annual report on the state of food waste in Israel. https://www.leket.org/en/food-waste-and-rescue-report/

So, the obvious first question was – How did Covid19 affect your organization?

With Hotels, Restaurants, and function halls coming to a standstill this posed a big problem. In normal times, Leket would collect leftover food and distribute this to organizations who would then distribute these meals daily.  Leket was left with a big dilemma. We had almost 3,000 meals and 250 organizations that were relying on this food. So, we came up a plan to buy these meals, and raise these funds from our donors. We ended up buying approx.  1 million over a one-year period.

In the farming community, Leket received calls from more farms, and we increased the number of participating farms from 32 to 41 farms. We have a target in 2021 to collect 50 million tons (From 40 million in previous years) and in the first four months, Leket has collected 25 million tons.

This produce supports every community without reference to religion or stream.

Prior to Covid, we distributed this to 210 organizations and now to approx. 330 organizations with an impact of over 250,000 people

What more can be done?

Leket is continually studying and learning. Through the Leket Annual Waste Report, they identify the problem points. We are still short of our target of 50% recovery of Food Waste.

Food waste estimates in Israel are based on a unique model of the value chain for domestic food production. Estimated at approximately 2.5 billion tons, food waste in Israel constitutes 35% of overall domestic food production.

One area that requires further thought is what to do with excess Fruits and Vegetables or that do not ascetic standards– Historically, there are cold storage, canning, pickling, making Jam and Soups, etc. Leket is grappling with this issue and considering some innovative solutions here.

The issue of improved information and coordination of data through a blockchain application could have a global and local impact. Below is one potential Example.

The adoption of Blockchain together with advances in Agtech in Agriculture should help alleviate inefficiencies in the Food Chain and provide a much-needed bio-security solution – with a more centralized collection of data and tracking of food – from the planning of crop outputs so that there is less of an over and undersupply of produce which should stabilize prices and achieve not only greater income for the Farmers, but lower costs to the Consumers. Hence, besides the Environmental Impact, there is a big Economic and Social Impact.   http://carbon-token.io/

 

What about Consumer Waste?

The total amount of food waste, at all stages in the value chain, is equivalent to the loss of approximately NIS 670 per household in Israel, every month.

While Leket does directly get involved in Consumers, Leket does explore and highlight areas that can use to rescue food and get consumers to reduce waste and save money..

While recycling does exist, this is nearly not widespread enough.

Other ideas –

  • consume less, buy less
  • Communal drop off Fridges in Apartments, Communal City Council Drop off Points or Shuls.
  • Composting
  • Personal Water and Sewage Waste Recycling
  • Technology that allows Supermarkets to identify close to expiry stock, and offer this as discounts,

All in all, the opportunity to improve the food lifecycle has a great impact to help society and help countries in the fight for 1.5%C  targets.

 

About the Author
Jeffrey is a Blogger, Entrepreneur, and Philanthropist (we can only dream) living in Jerusalem. He is a young grandfather who has five kids and four grandchildren. Jeffrey provides Financial Services for regulated Financial Companies - CFO, Key Individual, Approved Person through www.persofi.com and is a promoter of ideas and trends where Innovation meets ESG. He is looking to spread the message of Ahavat Yisrael and Jewish Unity through the music and stories through www.souldoctorstories.com and blogging.
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