A feast in Brussels that sparked a national movement
On the 1st of April 2014 in Brussels, Feedback together with partner organisations fighting food waste in Belgium served up over 6,000 delicious meals all made from fresh surplus ingredients. Over 1500kg of food that would otherwise have been wasted were saved either to be cooked for the meal or redistributed to people in need via the Belgian Federation of Food Banks. The event was fuelled with the enthusiasm of over 200 volunteers and attracted a phenomenal amount of media coverage in Belgium and even internationally: the combined audience reach of media outlets that covered the event is 11.1million! This included being featured in De Standaard and RTL+
Ahead of the event we organised gleaning days where volunteers went to local farms and harvested leeks and spinach. This led to the formation of the Belgian Gleaning Network. Feeding the 5000 Brussels also spread the Disco Soup movement across Belgium. The local organisers of the event also went on to be leaders of the European food waste movement, setting up FoodWIN the European Food Waste Innovation Network supporting European cities to reduce food waste.
Parallel to the public event, Feedback teamed up with Edd McMillan Scott MEP to organise a Sustainable Food Conference in the European Parliament to discuss the Commission’s imminent food policy. There was a grocery giveaway to MEPs and European Parliament employees of food that would have been wasted and a meal using wonky vegetables was served in the Parliamentary canteen.
Feedback held bilateral meetings with the European Commission (DG Santé and DG Environment) which resulted in a mention of the need to direct permissible food waste to feed pigs and chickens in the Sustainable Food Communication of the European Commission.