On October 8, 2018, Mindspace team – Ádám Kobrizsa, Emese Nánási, Çağla Demirbaş, Flóra Madácsi, Agnese Čikule, Sindija Balode and Julian Grobe – met with Food Not Bombs Budapest, a volunteer-based organization, to learn more about the organization and opportunities for cooperation.

“Food is a right, not a privilege,” is the simple statement all Food Not Bombs volunteers follow. Well, it’s what we all should be following. Food Not Bombs Budapest fights food waste by gathering food from two local markets each Saturday – they don’t ask for food donations but for food that cannot be sold anymore. “There’s a big difference,” they explained, “since these markets are closed on Sundays, the vendors know what food is going to be still good for selling on Monday, and what food is not.” So, it can either go to trash or it can feed the hungry. On Sundays, when the food is gathered, Food Not Bombs organize community cooking – preparing mostly vegan or vegetarian meals – and food delivery to those in need, mostly homeless people but they do not reject anyone.

The origins of Food Not Bombs date back to 1980, when the group was founded in Massachusetts, U.S. by anti-nuclear activists, hence, no surprise, that it has always put the need of nonviolent social change up front. Nowadays, it has hundreds of autonomous branches around the world fighting hunger and the devastating effects of economic globalization on Earth. Often enough, Food Not Bombs is the first to provide food for disaster survivors, as well as for protestors at various events. They are rarely having the easy way, as their volunteers get charged or even arrested for publicly sharing food, which, unfortunately, is the grey area in the law.

In Budapest, Food Not Bombs already cooperates with two local markets. Mindspace met with them to explore the likelihood of collaboration, and technicalities of making it all happen if possible. Not only we discussed practical aspects of food gathering and storage and techniques on how to educate and motivate market’s vendors to reduce food waste but Mindspace was also engaged to think about the stories of those in need – how people end up in these situations – and learn facts about food waste throughout the global food supply chain.

Julian Grobe, Pioneers into Practice participant at Mindspace, spent two weekends volunteering with Food Not Bombs Budapest at Auróra, the local community house in VIII district. He remembers it as a very nice experience, recommending anyone to try it, “It’s something different than your usual Sunday, and people there are very open.” Any market hall can create an efficient platform, either bottom-up or top-down, for reducing food waste but what really helps to start is collecting the existing food waste data and thinking about vendor engagement in reducing food waste, which can benefit both the vendors and those in need.


November 15, 2018 by Sindija Balode