Meet Matt Homewood, the urban harvester and food waste campaigner trying to change the world, one dumpster at a time.
Photographs: Unsplash / Matt Homewood
Text: Nikolaos Papadopoulos
Spring is a time of renewal. It is time to change the way we think about food waste. Matt's enthusiasm is evident from the moment the interview starts; he is a person who genuinely believes in his cause. He felt close to nature from a very young age and later studied it. He actively fights to protect it by exposing supermarkets' "dirty secret" food waste. With hundreds of millions of people worldwide facing food poverty, wasting trillions of tons of perfectly edible food each year does not seem right.
He calls himself an urban harvester because he raises awareness by showcasing the staggering amount of wasted food recovered through dumpster-diving in supermarket dumpsters. "We as consumers never agreed to it", he says, referring to how supermarkets manage food waste. "But why do they do it?". "Simply put - it's profitable for them," says Matt. The cost of disposing of food via incineration has already been factored into their business models, so they are taking a loss if they sell the food at a discount. Additionally, they always buy more food than what is actually needed, and it is cheaper to dispose of it than not cover 100% of the demand.
"Of course, households waste enormous amounts of food," he says, "but my focus is on stores because of the sheer amount of waste and the profit involved"
"Of course, households waste enormous amounts of food," he says, "but my focus is on stores because of the sheer amount of waste and the profit involved". Additionally, he is tired of blame and responsibility being put on the consumer while firms feign ignorance and greenwash themselves by adopting "sustainable" initiatives and still not addressing the problem.
While he currently campaigns in Denmark, he calls supermarket food waste a "Western Epidemic". Now he partners with Norwegian company Throw No More. They are working on an app that aggregates discounted products in stores so that the consumers can have better real-time access to that information. Currently, they partner with 550 stores across Norway. We hope that Matt inspires many more people to join him, and not only in Scandinavia!
For more info about Matt, visit www.matthomewood.com