(Author: Sophie P)
I recently spent two incredible weeks in the shambolic but fascinating Managua with Comamos Juntos. Right from day one I was welcomed and looked after brilliantly by Katie and the small team of dedicated volunteers fighting food wastage in Managua.
During my time with Comamos Juntos I helped collect vegetables which would otherwise be wasted from the largest wholesale market in Managua and participated in community cooking events. Comamos Juntos currently works with 25 market vendors and collects enough food for over 300 plates a week. In this one wholesale there are over 100 vendors; the amount of food wasted here in Nicaragua alone, let alone globally, is staggering. You hear the statistics, you think you understand the scale of the problem, but until you seen the massive quantities of food before your eyes it´s hard to truly comprehend the magnitude of the problem.
Contrast this with seeing communities struggling with food insecurity put the salvaged food to good use and the problem of food wastage seems even more unacceptable. Creating nutritious meals from vegetables which would otherwise had been wasted, for communities which really need them, was a very satisfying experience. However seeing this process in action highlighted how painfully logical the solution to global hunger is. Yet the fact still remains that 1.3 billion tons of food get wasted each year while 795 people are living in food poverty. Working with people trying to set this situation to rights, with limited funds and resources, was nothing short of inspirational.
On the days where we weren’t collecting food from the market or helping at community events I spent my time working with Katie on more office based tasks. This experience was eye opening in a different way. I relished the opportunity to gain insight into how this small grass roots organisations had grown and flourished in its short life. It was also interesting to discuss fundraising ideas and the future of the project. The potential of all the things this project could go on to achieve is very exciting.
For me good food is fundamentally important. It unites us, it revives us; it is at the same time a basic need and a huge source of pleasure. So two weeks of meeting people that are helping communities in need to access vital food has filled me with nothing but admiration and respect for this small organisation and all the people involved in it. The experience allowed me to experience part of Nicaraguan life which I would have otherwise never seen, it has opened my eyes to the huge scale of food wastage in Nicaragua, and has also left me feeling inspired and hopeful that change is possible.
Like all volunteers past, present and future, I now feel part of the extended Comamos Juntos family. I´m inspired not only to keep fighting the anti-food wastage cause but to also make small lifestyle changes and be more grateful for the food I am lucky enough to have access to everyday.
¡Viva the food waste revolution!