Recovering food surpluses and process them into new food products
Espigoladors is a non-profit making association working at reducing loss on the farm and food waste in the Barcelona area. A large quantity of fruit and vegetable that is in good condition is thrown away for aesthetic or production reasons (climatic hazards, overproduction…). Volunteers working with Espigoladors do this by collecting food surpluses from farmers and retail companies. Then Espigoladors redistribute 90% of recovered food to social entities. Espigoladors use the remaining 10% to make re-processed finished food products (i.e. jam) that are marketed under the "Es Im-perfect” brand in order to raise consumers' awareness and, at the same time, to ensure the economic model is viable and sustainable.
The socio-economic model is designed to involve the largest number possible of people in the fight against food waste, something Espigoladors achieve through awareness-raising activities that successfully inform, train and provide tools, so that everyone can offer their own solution to the problem. Various vulnerable groups and individuals are engaged in this project: groups at risk of social exclusion need greater access to a varied, balanced diet with high-quality produce and there is a lack of job opportunities for these groups.
Espigoladors offer training opportunities to vulnerable groups and generate synergies with other local stakeholders. Every day, they involve more people in carrying out research and putting into practice solutions that help reduce food waste
Volunteers, investments in the processing chain (cutting, cooking, packaging, storage…)
Evidence of success
In 2017, Espigoladors had 419 gleaners and 43 collaborating producers. Beneficiaries: 817,659 300-g portions served, 5 entity workers, collaborators in the entity’s jobs (work placement students, community service workers)
183 points of sale, 49,887 jars sold
Participants in awareness-raising activities (207 actions with over 7,000 participants).
Food waste avoided was 521 tonnes since 2015. Espigoladors saved an equivalent of 166 million litres of water, and prevented 65 t. of CO2 emissions.
Potential for learning or transfer
The Espigoladors model has contributed to provide a partial solution to the food waste issue and has empowered vulnerable groups. Espigoladors is expanding the operational area in Catalonia and there’s also a potential to replicate the model at national level through new gleaners’ communities
Espigoladors is supported by Agència de Residus, Ajuntament del Prat de Llobregat. Nevertheless, it is essential to focus more on the creation of social entrepreneurship models through incentives that can facilitate the implementation of this type of initiative.
Obviously it would be a success if initiatives such as Espigoladors come to disappear, because it would mean that hypermarkets and food processing companies succeeded to change their behaviours and habits. Espigoladores helps to progress in this way.
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