So you know food waste is costing you, our farmers and the environment, but you’re sick of being spoon fed solutions that are good in theory, but don’t work when shit gets real.

Enter Youth Food Movement Australia’s SpoonLed series, food waste advice from young people like yourself. We’re thinking outside to box to bring you the best solutions that actually work and are freakin delicious, from our mates and Sydney & Parramatta events. Read on to give food waste the flip.

So you give a damn about food waste, and now you want to get your friends in on it too. You’re sick of feeling like you’re the only one who cares, so you’re ready to re-inflate and inspire your friends to give a damn too.

Coming up to nearly five years of existence as an organisation, we’ve had a bit of practice on putting on a good food shindig. Whether it’s a moving feast, an office Cookluck or a pizza topping potluck party, we’ve come up with a foolproof formula.

Without going too far down the “How to Win Friends and Influence People” tack (that is way less manipulation and a whole lot more of food scraps) we’ve come up with a formula that’ll have you throwing a killer food saving party in no time.

It’s as simple as putting one foot in front of the other. You’ll look up and realise that putting on a party that saves food and gets your friends saving it too isn’t nearly as scary as you might think.

The Teaspoon Formula =

1. Your Peeps

You know your mates better than anyone. So if you want them to turn up, think about their time availability (or lack of it).

Whether it’s breakfast, morning tea, lunch or dinner, with your work pals, friends or family, there are numerous ways to peel a knob of ginger (PS. have you tried the spoon method?!).

Decide upon a food format that works for you. Our three go-to formats are:

    • Dinner Party Style. If you have the passion and time (but lots of time is not a necessity) and you know your friends don’t have the time, go with this format. You plan it with the issue in mind and when you serve it, explain the story behind each dish or course – what it took to source, what it took to make, and the story behind each ingredient. If you put a story to a dish, it’s harder to leave behind.
    • BAP. Bring A Plate. If you know your friends have a little time up their sleeves and are partial to cooking a meal at home, this is a good format as it can happen around a table or on the grass and, it guarantees diversity. Ask them to think about the issue before they come and create a dish around it. All you’ll need to do is give your mates some sourcing tips and you provide the deets.
    • Cook-luck On Site. If you and your pals are time poor, then we recommend cooking on site together. This can take place at home or in the office but heads up, this is like expert level food waste hacker. Ask them to turn up with an ingredient, a container of food “scraps” or remnants of last night’s meal and together, cook up a no-recipe smorgasboard.

2. A Food Issue

Think about a specific food waste issue that really gets your goat. On the whole, a lack of respect for our food has meant that there are a shit tonne of issues out there but from our experience it’s best if you just choose one, and do it well. Why? One issue and one message is easier to tell, hear, and actually remember. Here’s a short list of issues that you could build a killer party around:

    • Beauty standards of fresh fruit and veg –>  embrace wonky
    • Wasting leftovers –> upcycle them instead in a mystery box challenge
    • Binning produce before it’s physically off –> sniff and salvage
    • Overlooking stalks and stems –> transform them into snacks or dishes

Now that you’ve chosen an issue, make it tangible. Bring it down to plate level, and encourage fridge digging for carrot tops or the dusting off of tupperware. Put simply, make it fun. We promise you that when people get their hands dirty for a cause, the message of the cause lodges so deep that it’s still firmly sitting there for the next meal and the next.

SpoonLed April 2

+ The Deets

When you’re on a mission to walk the talk with your food (and this applies to a killer party or daily life), the little things count. Don’t forget about the things that are hiding in plain sight, like:

  • The Food. Think about how the food served and brought to the party can directly address your food issue. This might mean digging through your cupboard to take stock of what you’ve got before hitting the shops. Once you know what you need, grab your canvas bag and get to your nearest fruit shop or farmers market to buy wonky, or use the whole vegetable.
  • Crockery. We’re talking about food waste but also waste in general. There’s a whole world of ways out there to prevent waste and upcycle the things that already exist out there and in your home. When it comes to serving food, avoid disposable and go reusable. Dust off the china, crack out the vintage crystal. If crowdsourcing crockery proves futile, go and check out the nearest op shop to fill in the gaps amongst your collection of pre-loved pieces.
  • The Invite. You’ve got your theme, you’ve chosen your pals and now you need them to turn up. There’s a high chance that you’re going to have to lock in a date a few weeks in advance so why not get creative and use it as your first touch point to spread your food waste message? Write the invite on a banana peel, spell it out using stalks and stems and send them a photo, send it in a take-away container and ask them to bring it as their “ticket to change”.

The little details are going to make your party a memorable one. We 100% believe that it’s cool to care and going beyond the status quo makes things a little more interesting, which will help get your friends giving a shit too to change the culture of waste.

Oh and one more thing. While you’re at it (you know, rolling out a killer event) take a photo or two and share it with us using #SpoonLed! Check out some inspo from our SpoonLeaders.

Image credit: Zo Zhou

Helena Rosebery