Discovering the love of the unloved
Is the potato too big or too small? Is the cucumber too crooked? Is the skin of the onion not complete? These questions are not asked by the members of the 'feld:schafft' initiative.
All food finds its way into the kitchen despite its supposed blemishes. The members of the cooperative want to make good use of unused resources. With various educational offers, the knowledge about the sustainable use of food is also transported to the outside world.
feld:schafft – Cooperative for the Use of Unused Food
Since 2019, feld:schafft has been committed to creating a better awareness in dealing with food. With measures such as the use of unused resources, strengthening regional supply, observing seasonality, avoiding unnecessary packaging or delivery by bicycle, the cooperative practices sustainability in practice. The fact that almost half of the products are already sorted out at harvest time because of the wrong size or colour or various other defects is a thorn in their side. The team from Innsbruck is therefore looking for creative possibilities and transforms the shortages and rejects into delicious dishes. ‘For us, there is no such thing as ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’ food. Everything that is produced can also be processed‘, says Silvia Plangger, founding member of feld:schafft. At the same time, an educational programme aims to draw attention to the precarious situation and find a solution to the respective issues. The aim is to show people how to reduce food waste and recycle food, among other things.
Saved vegetables, food in jars and food procurement by bike
‘I.G.G.I.T.’ may be spelt similarly to the German exclamation of disgust, but in the case of feld:schafft it means ‘Innsbrucks gerettetes Gemüse im Topf’ (‘Innsbruck’s saved vegetables in pots’). These are warm, seasonal soups and stews that are delivered freshly cooked to the office or home. If you prefer to cook the food yourself, the food rescuers are happy to help out with a handmade soup seasoning. They are supported in this project by clients of Lebenshilfe Tirol. If you are more hungry, the ‘feld:LUNCH’ and the ‘feld:BRUNCH’ offer menus in returnable jars. This measure avoids unnecessary plastic waste.
feld:schafft obtains its food through a variety of cooperations. On the one hand, they regularly buy vegetables from farmers that are not suitable for the market. On the other hand, private gardeners also contact the cooperative when there is a surplus. In addition, some of the unused produce comes from the two cooperation partners ‘MPreis’ and ‘foodsharing Tirol’. Wherever possible, the feld:schafft team collects the goods – in keeping with the spirit of sustainability – by bicycle and trailer.
Raising awareness through practice and the ‘Weltacker Tirol’
In its workshops and seminars, feld:schafft takes a practical approach. With a view to the climate, the effects of food waste are to be made visible. The participants take a closer look at food, its value, its potential use with the effects of non-use and sustainable consumption. In the course of this, the participants recognise the connections of their own consumption and, in the next step, find solutions for a sustainable handling of food. ‘The focus is on the up-close experience with food. This is the only way to make the connections in terms of sustainability clear‘, says Claudia Sacher, also a founding member of the initiative. Through the project ‘Weltacker Tirol’, feld:schafft wants to bring these ‘manners’ further to the fore. The basic idea is to show the finiteness of the earth’s surface in a positive way and to increase the appreciation of products and agriculture.
Answers to sustainability questions in the feld:Schule
Why is so much food thrown away? What do I do with stale bread so that it doesn’t end up in the rubbish? Can I really eat the leaves of radishes? How much arable land do I use for my bread for breakfast? All these and many more questions will be answered in the course of feld:Schule. ‘The younger generation should be encouraged to think sustainably through the feld:Schule,‘ says Sacher. Here, too, the team sees the greatest impact in practical experience. The approaches are diverse. On an excursion through the city, children and young people learn about alternative ways of procuring food. In a community garden, they explore plant diversity and learn what is edible and what is not. Accordingly, the focus is also on the usability of food. In this context, the pupils complete sensory training to distinguish edible from non-edible food. Other topics include regionality, the path from the field to the kitchen and methods of preservation.
The feld:schafft not only talks about sustainability, but also passes on its values to adults, young people and children through practical concepts. There are no flaws in food for them. All food – no matter how small, big, crooked or colourful – is welcome in their kitchen.
feld:schafft is a Tyrolean success story. Lebensraum Tirol Holding, in cooperation with its subsidiaries (Tirol Tourist Board, Standortagentur Tirol and Agrarmarketing Tirol), brings special companies, projects, initiatives and people before the curtain. What they all have in common is that they play a pioneering role and act as role models for sustainability and responsible business. They contribute to the sustainability of the Tyrolean economy, society and environment and encourage the dissemination of sustainable change concepts. You can find more success stories here (in German only).