Mammamiaaa meals encourage participation across Europe... and Sheffield Food Works transforms food waste

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We try to ensure that every A/UK collaboratory we are involved in breaks bread in some way - whether curries or cakes, teas or beers. So we’re always looking for initiatives that connect food and the civic (Transition Towns being the best exemplars).

First, an intriguing social-tech offer, brought to our attention by the esteemed eco-urbanist, John Thackera. It’s called Mammamiaaa, and Thackera lays out its purpose here:

Mammamiaaa (with five 'a's) is a celebration of food and relationships. Instead of a dry and joyless focus on production and the money economy, Mammamiaaa reframes food culture as connection to a place, and a bridge between the generations. 

Becoming part of the Mammamiaaa community is very simple. Anyone can join. You just need a family recipe, a story linked to it, and the desire to share and document both at a lunch or dinner which you host (the link is here).

As Organiser, your meal is arranged for friends and family; you choose the recipe, determine the number of guests, the time and place. During the preparation (and then during the meal) it is important to record everything with photos videos, and voice recordings. Once these are shared on Facebook and Instagram your meal becomes part of the great digital archive of Mammamiaaa. That's it! 

Starting now, thousands of dinners across Italy and Europe will celebrate the role of women in creating meals. The ways in which grandmothers, mothers, fathers, uncles, and children, prepare, cook, and eat, together, will be collected, and shared. Shared in a in a spirit of conviviality, these stories will be Italy’s invitation to the world: Let us all cultivate food as a medium of connection among people, and with the land.

In spring 2019, a huge installation will be realised in  Matera 2019, European Capital of Culture as an analogic memory of the whole project. And then, in September 2019, a grand dinner will be organized to celebrate the national and international community of Mammamiaaa.

This strikes us as a celebratory platform that any city could begin, as a regional, national and international reach out from their own food culture.

It’s not as if food activism isn’t everywhere on these islands. And it can happen from a very different points in the food chain. For example, see this Crowdfunder for Food Waste Sheffield, their promo video, and their blurb below:

Food waste is a humongous problem. If food waste were a country it would be the 3rd largest producer of carbon emissions on the planet! Globally ⅓ of ALL FOOD is wasted, thrown in the bin and sent to landfill never to see a plate, fork or belly.

Luckily we’ve been working hard for the last three years as ‘The Real Junk Food Project Sheffield’ collecting and redistributing perfectly good food that might otherwise have gone to waste. We’ve been able to save over 300 tonnes of usable food from going into the bins of Sheffield and created hundreds of thousands of meals with it. This is thanks to the support and help of a relatively small yet incredibly strong community of volunteers, food suppliers and sponsors. 

However.... This 300 tonnes is only 0.1% of the food wasted in our city.

The UN has said we’ve only got 12 years to prevent climate catastrophe so we REALLY need to get cracking on solving this!

Our vision is beyond The Real Junk Food Project Sheffield. This is about tackling food waste at home, tackling food waste where it’s produced and so much more. We started small but we know we need to think BIG to make the impact needed to help our environment.

So that's why we’re changing our name to ‘Food Works’ and running this crowdfunding project to help us secure a permanent home and to fully equip it.  We will need a big walk in fridge, some REALLY big freezers and a long term warehouse lease. We need to think bigger in every way (except maybe our name, which could do with being a bit shorter.)

We disagree - we like Food Works Sheffield!