“Social Plate” is a project developed by CMT as a solution to the problems of poverty, social exclusion and the need to protect the environment.
The “Social Plate” is a project coordinated by CMT.
CMT is a public company founded in 1975. CMT facilities include the Fruit and Vegetable market (280 stores, distributed in 4 cores of 70 stores each) and the Meat market (24 stores). Daily, from CMT 600-800 tonnes of fruit and vegetables and 80-100 tonnes of meat are being shipped to local food markets and the Balkans.
The goal of the project “Social Plate” is to provide food for weaker social groups, work to the long-term unemployed and to limit food waste. Within fifteen months of operation, the “Social Plate” team handled more than 345,000 kg fruits and vegetables, derived from the CMT facilities. The products are separated into those that are fit for consumption and those that are not. Specifically, 230,000 kg were recovered and offered to our fellow people and the rest was used for organic waste. The packaging of the received products is being reused instead of being discarded. The delivery is being handled by the organic waste management office of CMT with the help of volunteers from the agencies that benefit from the project. More than 75 agencies participate in the distribution (Social Grocery Stores, NGOs, Foundations, Church Kitchens). They receive the recovered products and distribute them, cooked or raw, to vulnerable social groups. Thus, the homeless, the unemployed, refugees, and anyone in need of a plate of food, can get just that, thanks to the all the volunteers working with “Social Plate”.
The “Social Plate” is funded by INTERREG V-A Greece – Bulgaria 2014-2020 programme with a budget of 218.750€. But the amount covers partially human resources and technical equipment. CMT tried to cover the financial gap by providing 3 employees on permanent basis even though more people were needed.
Evidence of success
Within fifteen months of operation, the “Social Plate” team has handled more than 345,000 kg of fruits and vegetables. More than 230,000 kg were recovered and offered to fellow people, while the rest was used as organic waste. The original packaging of the products is being reused instead of being discarded. More than 75 agencies participate in the distribution (Social Grocery Stores, NGOs, Foundations, Church Kitchens).
The main difficulty is the great need for human resources. Technical equipment is also needed because it deals with fresh vegetables and fruit that have to be separated and offered quickly.
Potential for learning or transfer
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), about one third of global food production (around 30 to 40%), is lost or wasted annually. As such, every action that limits food waste is of great importance.
CMT is a public owned company and is the “Social Plate” is the first organized practice of “saving the food” in Greece with promising results. Therefore, this good practice could be applied by other such authorities’ handling/ retailing/ supervising food distribution/ retailing. CMT is directly supervised by Ministries of Development and Agriculture so other high level policy bodies could adopt such a good practice on regional/national level. In private sector, in the context of corporate social responsibility, can provide funds and labor until the practice becomes profitable through recycling, exploitation of organic waste or even through selling processed fruit.
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