By this point, you’ve probably heard the (admittedly sobering) stats a few times over: according to the Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO), roughly one third of the food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted — almost half of all the fruits and vegetables we grow. At the same time, almost a billion people around the world go hungry. There are quite a few apps trying to reduce the amount of food waste, or redistribute excess food to those in need.
A new social media campaign from the World Food Programme (WFP) wants you to turn food waste from a recipe for disaster into a, well, #RecipeForDisaster. WFP hopes that this hashtag will spark a social media movement that will draw attention to food waste and highlight simple ways that people can reduce their wasted food at home. Here’s how it works:
The campaign asks you to make a meal out of ingredients that will soon expire, then share photos (or videos) of the dish with the hashtag #RecipeForDisaster. (Be forewarned: A search for that hashtag on Instagram will turn up some odd images that are very much not food-related.) The video also suggests you make a donation to the WFP to help them reach their goal of eradicating world hunger by 2030.
An article in The Guardian argued that millennials’ obsession with Instagraming their food has heightened our expectations about what food should look like, prompting us to buy more than we need and reject perfectly edible food, just because it doesn’t look as nice as it used to. By promoting photos of dishes made with less-than-perfect-looking ingredients, the #RecipeForDisaster campaign hopes that they can fight this trend.
#RecipeforDisaster isn’t the first social campaign to draw awareness to food waste. Perhaps most prominent is Ugly Food & Veg, an Instagram account with over 40K followers that reposts photos of oddly-shaped produce. Imperfect Produce‘s Instagram account, which has with over 68K followers, also highlights nonconventional (“ugly”) fruits and vegetables, as well as ways to use up the entirety of your produce.
#RecipeforDisaster could go further than some of these other accounts by asking the consumer to contribute content. If they can gain enough traction (and in the unpredictable realm of social media, that’s a big “if”), they could go far in promoting awareness about a critical issue in our food system. They’re not off to a bad start: the hashtag currently features in 6,300 posts using the hashtag on Instagram and many more on Twitter, including posts from celebrity chef like José Andres. But in our age of constant stimulation, it’s hard to keep anyone’s attention for too long — even on issues as pressing as food waste.
So next time you have an extra brown banana in your fruit bowl, don’t throw it away — turn it into banana bread and post it to the gram with #RecipeforDisaster.