BY: SAMANTHA TAPP
The tomato sauce that will reach its expiry date in a matter of days, the red onions that are beginning to wilt and the beef that you meant to cook last week, yet somehow forgot…these are the primary ingredients for your next dinner party. At least that’s how the group, Youth Food Movement Australia (YFM), sees them. Their innovative dinner parties, dubbed “cook-lucks,” a combination of a potluck and cooking party, are the newest way Australians are staying in with friends, saving money and most importantly, eliminating food waste.
The idea started from a series of food saving workshops led by YFM called ‘SpoonLed.’ The workshops were filled with DIY food saving tips and the attendees were so inspired by the ideas that they began to spread the knowledge by having cook-lucks on their own time.
Essentially, rather than each person bringing a dish to a dinner party, everyone brings an item that needs saving from their fridge. The group then works together to use all of the ingredients to create an epic (and hopefully tasty) meal. What sounds like a potential new show on the Food Network is actually just a way to learn some skills in the kitchen from friends and play a role in the fight to improve the food waste issue.
“Together we can turn food waste around,” said SpoonLed Creative Producer Helena Rosebery. “We can turn the 1 in 5 bags of food that we normally chuck into something delicious. We can support food we believe in with the $1000 a year that households spend on food that’s thrown out. We can grow our creative muscles as we send 40% less trash to landfills.”
According to World Food Day USA, in 2015 organic waste was the second highest component of landfills and about 30-40% of everyday food supply is wasted, equalling more than 20 pounds of food per person per month. On a global scale, about one third of food produced annually for human consumption (roughly 1.3 billion tonnes) gets wasted, which equals to about US$ 680 billion in industrialized countries and US$ 310 billion in developing countries.
YFM focuses on educating specifically Gen-Y about food waste, simply because young people are the future of food- whether it be the farmers, chefs, shoppers or just the eaters. Cook-lucks are a simple step, but one in the right direction to reducing waste and improving in the kitchen.
Check out #SpoonLed on Instagram to see what’s being made and to share your own masterpiece.