It’s 11.00 a.m. The telephones are ringing. On the one end of the line, someone with a polite voice is offering leftover bread and pastries from a bakery. On the other end, a Boroume volunteer is noting down the products being offered by a food company. The food saving begins! Volunteers of the organization Boroume communicate with charitable organizations/recipients about collection from donors. The goal is immediately to ensure the best possible distribution to people facing food insecurity.
And that’s how, with an innovative Saving & Offering Food model, the organization that talked to us for the first time about food waste in our country is happily completing its 10th year of operation. Since 2011, when a group of three young people saved 12 cheese pies from a snack bar, Boroume has Saved & Offered a total of 58 million portions of food from thousands of donors of every kind to over 650 charitable organizations in 80 parts of Greece.
But Boroume is not just that. From very early on, it adopted a holistic approach to dealing with the multi-faceted issue of food waste, which is based on two basic pillars: Saving & Offering Food and Awareness Program "Every meal matters" aimed at increasing prevention of the phenomenon of food waste.
The first pillar is based on the implementation of waste reduction practices. Through programs other than Saving & Offering Food, such as “Boroume at the Farmers’ Market” and “Boroume Gleaning” food waste in the primary production sector is reduced by collecting unsold products from the stalls of vendors and producers at farmers’ markets and offering them to charitable organizations in the vicinity. Since 2014, when these actions began, Boroume has saved & offered over 670,000 kilos of useable fresh fruits and vegetables with high nutritional value.
According to Alexandros Theodoridis, co-founder and manager of the organization, “of equal importance to us is the information pillar. Through our Awareness Program "Every meal matters" we aspire, with informative seminars for companies, presentations at conferences, and talks a various forums, to convey the importance of reducing food waste for the environment and the economy and, at the same time, to cultivate the value of volunteerism and social contribution. With the approval of the Ministry of Education, we have another opportunity, through our program “Boroume at School,” to visit educational institutions (either online or in person) and to talk with children at all age levels from nursery to lyceum, about food waste. We are really happy over these 10 years, that more than 24,000 students from every part of Greece have become familiar with the concepts of food waste, environmental footprint, the path of contribution and solidarity.”
In answer to the question of what Boroume means to him, Alexandros says, “For the environment it means that the 58 million portions of food we saved are equivalent to 85.26 million kilos of CO2 eq that we have prevented from burdening the atmosphere, given that 1 portion that is saved & offered corresponds to 1.47 kg CO2 eq. This quantity is equivalent to more than 1.56 million trips from Athens to Thessaloniki with an average-sized conventional automobile! On an economic level, the value of the food that was offered free of charge to charitable organizations comes to 116 million euros, estimating an average value of 2€ per portion.
For me, though, Boroume is much more than all that. Boroume is its people. It is the smiles on the faces of people that we support through the charitable organizations which have gained access to food that many of us take for granted. A pastry, a fresh apple, a choice delicacy prepared by a well-known chef. It is the team of 2,500 volunteers in Greece and abroad that have made and continue to make their mark. It is the donors and the supporters of Boroume that have trusted us every step of the way. Without all of them, the Food Saving Warriors of our organization, none of this would have been possible over the last 10 years. I thank them from the bottom of my heart!"
If you would like to become a Food Saving Warrior and learn more about how you can contribute to the reduction of food waste, please contact the organization at [email protected] or at 210-3237805.