Ringvaade: Vastseliina women highlight issue of supermarket food wastage

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Still from 'Homme saabub paradiis' Source: ERR

A group of South Estonian women is highlighting the problem of supermarket food wastage by collecting food due to be dumped, or actually discarded, from stores, ETV magazine show "Ringvaade" reports.

The women, from Vastseliina, Võru County, got their inspiration for the project from the Estonian documentary "Homme saabub paradiis" ("Paradise arrives tomorrow"), ERR's Menu portal reports.

The documentary plots the activities of a group of young mothers who obtain fresh food, which has been discarded, for their families. The documentary's (link in Estonian) director, Anna Hints, lent her blessing to Kairi Orav and the Vastseliina women as well.

Orav had initially planned to take waste, but edible, food to give to animals, but found that much of the produce was so good that it was worth giving to human recipients. Soon she was joined by other women and the pursuit became almost daily.

One participant, Eduna Csüllog, also a film director, said: "This is the best fruit I have had in Estonia," adding that fruit often gets discarded when it is at its best (i.e. ripest), in her opinion.

Anna Hints said that store managers run the gamut in their willingness to allow discarded food to be rescued in this way, though discarding fresh, edible food is both an irrational and unethical practice, she added.

Some stores countered this by taking the moral high ground themselves, saying they fear that recipients may fall sick or may try to make money by selling the food that they have liberated.

This has not deterred the Võru County women, however, who now have a shared scheduled for tracking food discards, cook together and distribute meals to other local residents.

The original "Ringvaade" segment (in Estonian) is here.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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