I’ve been using OLIO for around three months now and in today’s modern world, I can honestly say I love this idea more than anything else right now.
OLIO is a social enterprise powered by a smart phone app that allows people to connect with one another locally to share surplus food. Individuals, cafe’s and restaurants are all invited to join in the movement of food sharing.
I found a few words in a ‘freebie’ section covered by Glamour magazine, of all places. It’s the first time I ever looked in a Glamour Magazine and I’m glad I did. I was quick to check out the website, and instantly sent OLIO an email to get involved and volunteer my time to spread the word and share the good news!
Not only am I a fan of free food, (who isn’t) but the idea of a smart phone app that can contribute to tackling the issue of food waste in the UK is perhaps the most exciting phenomenon to happen in a good while.
I remember when I use to work in events hospitality and at the end of the night I would witness countless amounts of food being thrown away into the bins. I would practically force management to distribute the food to all the staff, or to allow me to take the food to give to rough sleepers on my way home. We always promised that we wouldn’t sue if we got sick. Nobody ever got sick. Those were harder times, but I never stopped believing in tackling the problem of waste. I’m no longer in hospitality, but from what I last heard, it’s not uncommon for staff to be given surplus food these days. – oh how things can change! [Smiley face]
There have also been and still are – countless active communities who seek out surplus food so they can make use of it use, either by seeking, collecting and eating it themselves, distributing it, hosting free community meals and in more recent cases, opening up zero waste restaurants .
For a long time, it always seemed to have been for the role of the few.. and usually the few that the mainstream have taken little interest or favour in: The squatters, the anarchists, and the homelessness helping charities.
OLIO has made this kind of activism a positive reality – on a large scale, and almost mainstream- OLIO label ambassadors ‘Food Waste Hero’s’ when they actively form partnerships to redistribute surplus food. It makes people feel recognised and valued for saving food and tackling food waste, and this is a pretty wonderful thing. It wasn’t cool when we raided bins, but joining OLIO is.
OLIO brings the idea of wasting food more into personal consciousness. If we can adjust our own habits to reduce waste by sharing what we don’t need, it should trickle out a little more into the world.
I am both a user and giver on OLIO – and obviously an advocate of promoting food sharing and reducing food waste. Since I am a Deliveroo cyclist, I also take advantage of popping a flyer with the customers meals when I deliver, and I occasionally give a stack of flyers to restaurants and cafe’s I pass on the way. They love flyers – no idea why. Its really great conversation opener. If I’ve ever delivered to you, I hope you’ve seen the flyer and jumped on board with the OLIO revolution.
OLIO have done an amazing job recruiting ambassadors all over the UK as well – not only do they run around giving out flyers and hanging up posters, but they also go into their local cafes and restaurants and arrange ways they can make use of any surplus food. What is exciting is the amount of people who are more than willing to get involved do this.
What’s also pretty amazing is the amount of great food you’ll find people listing on OLIO so close to where you live. It’s easy for me to jump on my bicycle and go whenever I need to go to pick up food that somebody else doesn’t want. I regularly meet with one guy who hates coriander but keeps getting it in his weekly food boxes- (I love coriander).. and while I’m on it I should name a few things I’ve picked up to date: peppers, bananas, carrots, apples, crisps, coconut milk, pesto. Think of it like FreeCycle, but for food.
A few weekends ago, OLIO managed to partnership with the Foodies Festival over in Syon park and there was ALOT of food to give away – eight pallets to be precise. I met a few people who had also come to collect some of the goods. One lady couldn’t stop talking about how she could get so much food for free. She was over the moon. Me and my friend left with two suitcases full, and I listed some of the stuff in my own are – there are only so many bag bags of crisps I can eat for myself.
So if you LOVE FOOD and HATE WASTE, then download the OLIO app now, available on both Android and Apple –