From Waste to Feast - The Surplus Food Network in New Taipei City
The New Taipei City Government is now launching the “Surplus Food Network” in an attempt to gradually reduce the food waste and change the citizens’ food habits.
In Taiwan, over 36,000 metric tons of food waste is generated every year, while more than 140,000 low income households face the highest risk of hunger and food insecurity. Realizing the serious food waste management problem, the New Taipei City Government has implemented the Surplus Food Network, a strategic project which is expected to save 70 metric tons of edible food and provide 50,000 meals to the disadvantaged families.
The Surplus Food Network project aims to redistribute the waste food from supermarkets, wholesales, fruits and vegetables cooperation in New Taipei City to those in need around the neighborhood community. Donated by the charity party, two Love-Food vans with refrigeration system have been established to deliver products that are near the expiration date to the social welfare institutions.
Besides, volunteer workers will also help set up five Love-Food kitchens to regularly provide meals to the disadvantaged youth, the elderly and the handicapped people in the community. Five public markets will be served as Love-Food bases for the surplus food products network, whereas the four largest hypermarkets in New Taipei City will offer the near expiry food to the neighborhood communities and the social business groups.
The New Taipei City Government has also dedicated to raising citizens’ awareness toward food waste by promoting the Surplus Food Network program via media. On one hand, the government promotes and releases related news to inform more citizens about the project. On the other hand, the government displays the concept of food saving through exhibition to grab people’s attention on this issue. With great publicity, the Surplus Food Network is expected to steadily change citizens’ habit toward food waste and recruit more volunteers to participate in this program.
“The concept of the Surplus Food Network is to turn the waste food into delicious meals,” said Dr. Eric Lilun Chu, the mayor of New Taipei City. By building long-term partnerships with more private sectors in the Surplus Food Network, the New Taipei City Government called for more local restaurants to engage in the program as well as building their corporate social responsibility.
The Surplus Food Network has also been selected as one of the six Metropolis Pilot Projects 2017, defeating twelve other city projects to receive 26,000 euros to spend on related activities. The jury of the Metropolis Pilot Projects mentioned that the Surplus Food Network is a multidimensional approach with cross-sector partnership and a great good practice for other cities working together.
The award-winning project has also synergized with the “Meal-Sharing for Seniors Program,” a policy that offers the seniors to have congregate lunch together at various locations within the communities, as the Surplus Food Network will provide the food source and the ingredients.
The main goal for the Surplus Food Network is to make the best use of waste food, provide various recipes for cooking the unconsumed food, and educate the citizens of food waste. In the long-term, this holistic and comprehensive project will not only benefit the vulnerable or homeless people, but also lead a low-carbon environment in the community. With concrete actions and unique expertise, the Surplus Food Network envisions turning New Taipei City into a zero food waste homeland one day.