Food Loop is a prototype of an app aimed at the free redistribution of excess food that is thought to be trash.
led by Wendy Fok at
Parsons School of Design
At the beginning, the project was titled "Taste or Waste", and later evolved into Food Loop. This project came about because of one very simple reason: I felt like an actor myself in the cycle of unnecessary food waste. I am a part-time worker at Panera Bread, and at the end of the day I have to bag all of our pastries, bagels, and bread and throw them out on the side of the curb.
I didn’t want to continue trashing perfectly edible (and even delicious!) food, simply because I had to obey the corporate food policy of “day in, day out”. Panera does have a partnership with City Harvest, yet more often than not the food is not picked up and still thrown away like trash. That’s why 'Taste or Waste' was born.
So, I decided to bring this reality to the streets.
I decided to take the excess food that was labeled as trash and gave it out for free at Washington Square Park, with the label "taste or waste".
After I set up the stand in Washington Square Park, I sought to continue organizing to close the loop of misallocated excess food and create a more sustainable solution to the problem. This led 'Taste or Waste' to transform into 'Food Loop'.
Food Loop is a prototype of an app that was created to aid the system of food donations in New York City. The app would give the opportunity to save food to anyone who has downloaded the app, allowing for one-time volunteer opportunities. It connects users to nearby restaurants that have excess food at the time when cafes are closing down, and then creates a route to the nearest homeless shelter where the food is donated.
I decided to look into the food donation system and see how an app could optimize the experience, and also get more people involved.
Food Loop seeks to to create a seamless platform that is user-friendly for food-runners, consumer-facing businesses, and shelters alike. It is created to solve many of the challenges found in present food-donating systems.