Just because we get food easily on the table, we don’t value it.
We often pile on more than we want to eat and discard the rest.
We dump leftovers in the bin without thinking.
It doesn’t bother us. But it really bothered one woman.
Her name is Selina Juul.
Selina’s inspiring story is an example of a determined individual’s power to change the world.
What’s her biggest problem?
Wasting food. She sees it as no less than a crime.
Perhaps that’s why her urgency regarding the matter resulted in Denmark’s food wastage going down by an astounding 25%.
She did it all alone.
Selina comes from Russia, where even 3 meals a day were rare.
She said to BBC,
“I come from a country where there were food shortages, we had the collapse of infrastructure, communism collapsed, we were not sure we could get food on the table”.
Which is why she was horrified when she moved to Denmark.
The supermarkets were flooded with edible items. There was an abundance of food everywhere. Truckloads of expired food made their way to the compound.
That’s why it was taken for granted.
Having suffered from heavy shortage of food, Selina was appalled and decided to take matters into her own hands. She started a Facebook page.
She also went from door to door, pitching her ambitious idea of cutting down food wastage in the country by taking simple measures.
She first went to the supermarkets.
She got Rema 1000, Denmark’s largest low-cost supermarket chain on her side. After listening to her, they changed quantity discounts with single item discounts to control wastage.
So, an only banana, instead of being trashed, was tagged with – ‘I’m Single. Take Me!’ - It worked.
Selina made very valid points too.
She stated that the agriculture industry is growing more produce than people are consuming.
In her words, “We cannot afford to grow food for the trash.”
She also said that consumers are the “biggest wasters”.
They’re doing it because they don’t recognise it as a harmful phenomenon.
She called our refrigerators “graveyards for food”, as items usually get stale, lying for days until they’re is disposed off.
Selina warned that if this didn’t stop, the very food cycle of the world would soon be shaken.
Her conviction and persuasion worked.
Every second Dane has successfully reduced wastage.
Selina is now taking her mission to other parts of the world. Her goal is to spread awareness on a global platform.
And she’s well on her way to achieving her dreams.
She created an organisation called Stop Spild Af Mad, which is now credited by Denmark's government for being one of the key influencers in battling food wastage.
She now hosts seminars, spearheads talk shows, appears in magazines and conducts workshops. More and more people are now paying attention to her cause, or rather, the world’s cause.
She once said,
“Food waste is the lack of respect for our nature, for our society, for the people who produce the food, for the animals, and the lack of respect for our time and your money.”
So maybe clear out that fridge and cook fresh? Take only what you need? I know I will.
These small initiatives can make a big difference. Make sure you do your bit. There are many people in India going hungry. Maybe it helps.