Neighbors in Finland Share Leftover Food to Reduce Waste

March 21, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings 
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. trim down 
[trim-doun] (phrasal v.) – to reduce or to decrease
Example:  Gymnasts trim down their food intake in preparation for a tournament.

2. pantry [PAN-tree] (n.) – a room where food and other kitchen utensils are stored
Example: The family went grocery shopping to store more food in the pantry.

3. brainchild [BREYN chahyld] (n.) – an original idea or concept of a person or a group
Example: The campaign to reduce pollution in the city was the brainchild of an environmental organization.

4. forward-thinking [FAWR-werd THING-king] (adj.) – thinking or planning about the future
Example: Critics say that the project to reduce food waste is forward-thinking for considering the future effects of food wastage to the environment.

5. utilize [YOOT-l-ahyz] (v.) – to put into use
Example: People in the office utilize the same pantry for keeping food.

Read the text below.

Food wastage has become a global environmental problem. But some residents in Finland have thought of a way to trim down the amount of wasted food–by sharing leftovers with each other.

The project started four months ago in an apartment complex in a neighborhood in Helsinki. The residents store their leftovers and extra goods in a pantry kept at 6°C throughout the year.

Residents write their apartment number, the food they have left or taken and their comments on a clipboard hanging on the pantry door. They must also list down a cooked dish’s ingredients. The system helps people know who left bad food in case someone gets sick. A Facebook page with a list of available food is also updated regularly.

This idea is the brainchild of Heikki Savonen, who thought of the anti-waste project two years ago. Savonen consulted MTT Agrifood Research, a food sustainability research center. Soon after, Savonen launched the idea on the Internet and contacted residents of the neighborhood.

MTT Agrifood Research said the project was forward-thinking. According to a researcher from the center, the project will reduce the 130,000 tons of food waste in Finland yearly.

However, this project still needs improvement. Since the project started, not all residents have utilized the pantry. Only a dozen people regularly leave comments on the clipboard.

Jukka Peltonen, a resident who utilizes the pantry, expects that more people will participate in the project during the summer season. He hopes the project will not only reduce food wastage, but will also establish community ties among residents.

Viewpoint Discussion 
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

·         Do you think this project can be done in your own community? Why or why not?
·         What do you think are the disadvantages of this project? Please explain your answer.

Discussion B

·         Aside from causing environmental problems, why is it bad to waste food?
·         How can you help prevent food wastage?


March 21, 2013