Mission to curb food waste

Nothing goes to waste: A member of Garda Pangan sorting fruits to be distributed to those in need. — The Jakarta Post/ANN

A group of people in green vests with “Garda Pangan” emblazoned on the back walk through a kampung in the westernmost part of Surabaya, which is home to many scavengers.

The Jakarta Post met with the group as they were about to distribute groceries to people who live in the district.

“We used to share foodstuff, which we recovered from a factory, or leftovers from a party. But ever since the pandemic, factories have minimised their production quota. Right now, we distribute groceries instead.

“Personal protective equipment is also included because their job makes them vulnerable to Covid-19 exposure, ” said Eva Bactiar, one of Garda Pangan’s founders.

The group has been sharing food with those who cannot afford sufficient food supplies since 2017.

In 2011, a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit declared Indonesia the second-largest producer of food waste in the world.

Earth.org also noted that Indonesians wasted at least 1.3 billion tonnes of food yearly – an amount that could supply food for three billion people.

So, it’s no surprise that Garda Pangan mostly obtains its supplies from surplus left by the hospitality industry and food businesses, weddings, parties, as well as food that is nearing expiration.

Garda Pangan is working to encourage corporations to officially support organisations that distribute leftover food.

Eva’s team tries to assure the corporations – which are often concerned about distributing leftovers due to the dangers of food poisoning tarnishing their image – that as long as the process is handled properly, no problems are expected.

“The absence of a regulation also discourages companies from distributing their leftover products.

“At the same time, we also encourage a policy to ban food companies from easily getting rid of their unsold products. For example, in America, they have tax incentives. Food waste could be reduced by the existence of such a regulation, ” said Eva. — The Jakarta Post/ANN

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