We would like to share spots or businesses that help us as Rotterdammers to decrease our food waste or offer circular approaches to the local food sector. We believe that you can make the biggest impact by consciously deciding where, what, and how much food you buy in the first place. We specifically prefer local and organically grown products, buying directly from the producer, or only supporting supermarkets that opt for less packaging and a fair as well as a transparent food chain. It is not always easy to find such committed spots, so we prepared a little cheat sheet for your convenience.
One of our favourite things about Rotterdam is the food markets every Tuesday (Blaak), Wednesday (Afrikaanderplein), Thursday (Delfshaven), and Saturday (every location). There, you can find cheaper foodstuffs, from food and veggies to yoghurts and chocolates. The products in the market usually come from food distribution centres and constitute of the stocks the supermarkets will not accept due to too short expiry dates or unusual (read: not all-perfect) looks. You can read more about what kind of food ends up on the markets and how it helps the planet in our interview with a food distribution centre employee.
At the Oogst market in Rotterdam Noord, open every Saturday, you can find local products of farmers and producers from Rotterdam and the city’s immediate surroundings. It is our favourite spot to buy seasonal fruits, veggies as well as cheese, nuts, honey, bread, or even flowers – the variety of the products the Oogst market offers is why we felt it deserved a separate section. Since you can directly buy from the producers, there is no food waste coming from long-distance travel or storage. You can further reduce potential food waste by buying only the amount you need, and even fight unnecessary packaging by bringing your own bags and jars. Besides the great quality of the products, it is also the cosy atmosphere that always makes the visit to the market a fulfilling experience rather than just a “shipping trip”. Thanks to the people, but also the on-the-market performances of local musicians, the air is always filled with music and positive vibes.
Find out about Oogst market’s dates and events here: http://www.rotterdamseoogst.nl/home/
What we love about Rechtstreex is that they do not only support local producers and a package-free or low-packaging regimen but they also proactively fight food waste. They do not order to stock but only based on customer’s orders, so there is no food waste coming from supermarket-style storage. They also give fruits or veggies with weird shapes that would never make it into a regular supermarket a chance. For example, they sell paprikas in weird shapes under a graceful name of “Paprikanders” or they offer rucola with holes.
Check out Rechtstreex’s actions on https://www.rechtstreex.nl
Rule number one of reducing food waste is to only buy what you need and realistically consume before it goes bad. Gimsel has a beautiful bulk section with a vast offer of durable goods, such as rice, pasta, grains or legumes. They sell compostable bags at the location, but you can, of course, also bring your own (watch out: do not bring glass jars because you have to weigh your container, too).
Gimsel also sells veggies and fruits in all kinds of shapes. Their pro-responsible-consumption assortment even includes a memory puzzle for kids (Toffe Peren memory puzzle) with “weird” shaped food so that the children can learn to recognize those as food that is normal for consumption.
Read more on the bulk section on https://www.gimselrotterdam.nl/afdeling/bulk/
I guess that we are not the only ones avoiding supermarkets these days, which is why we also want to highly recommend the Rotterdam start-up Pieter Pot. You can order all kinds of durable goods on their website. Pieter Pot offers a wide range of food products in pretty glass jars, which is their way to say “no” to single-use plastic packaging. They started with delivering directly to clients’ doorstep by bike to also fight transport-originating air pollution. Now, they grew so big (the grocery revolution is happening!) they cannot deliver by bike anymore but their anti-plastic philosophy has a massive impact on its own. Because of so much interest, they also introduced a waiting list for their products. Do not let it discourage you – the more people sign up, the more efficient their ordering and deliveries will become.
You can learn more about the idea behind the start-up and the founders’ work in an interview we conducted. Or, if we already convinced you about how cool Pieter Pot is, you can order your first sustainable groceries here: https://www.pieter-pot.nl/
Kromkommer, a Utrecht-based company, sought out to save all the fruits and veggies that otherwise would be thrown away due to their appearance or overproduction. They are specifically known for their soups made of crooked yet perfectly edible veggies.
It does come in plastic but the impact they make by cooking with “food waste” or “undesired food” reaches further than not using plastic – so, watch out for their yummy soups in your supermarket!
Read more about their tastes and philosophy on https://www.kromkommer.com/english/
Groenten zonder grenzen
Groenten zonder grenzen is an initiative that organises “free, healthy and accessible dinner parties”. They rescue veggies and cook a zero food waste dinner. They aim to raise awareness of food waste and healthy and sustainable eating as well as social inclusion. In the current situation, the dinners had to pause. Instead, Groenten zonder grenzen now set up a free-of-charge delivery service for leftover fruits, vegetables and bread for Rotterdammers that were most affected by the crisis. If you want to support them, you can directly join their WhatsApp group: Veggies to the rescue!
Zero Foodwaste Rotterdam
Zero Food Waste Rotterdam contributes to a healthier urban ecosystem. In their current garden, they host educational workshops, festivals and other programs around sustainability and food waste. They are located in the M4H area where makers and industry meet, and it is an easy connection to Delfshaven where they regularly host events.
You can find out more at https://www.zerofoodwaste.nl/
Too good to go
Even if “Too good to go” is not a Dutch initiative, we believe it is worth to mention as the app is also available in the Netherlands. It provides a marketplace that connects businesses with a food surplus to consumers who want to rescue that food. You can order a “magic bag” at a discount price and collect it from the businesses of choice in a defined collection window.
You can find more info and a link where you can download the app here: https://toogoodtogo.nl/nl
Blue City is Rotterdam’s number one place for inspiration and a hub where new ideas for circular economy arise daily ideas. Home to approximately 30 “bioneering” enterprises, Blue City hosts some that are directly fighting food waste through an unusual industrial approach.
Rotterzwam is an initiative which uses coffee ground for growing mushrooms. We recommend not only buying your growing kit but also following one of their workshops. You can find the workshop schedule on their Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Rotterzwam
Fruitleather Rotterdam is an initiative that converts leftover fruits and vegetables into a leather alternative. The founders want to make eir aim is that Fruitleather the ideal material can be used for footwear, fashion accessories and all kinds of furnishing material. Read more on their innovation:: https://fruitleather.nl
Vet & Lazy are the beer brewers who do not only aim to establish a zero-waste process for their beer production but also use the waste from other Blue City initiatives, such as stale bread, roasted coffee beans or fruit peels to create new flavours. And their beers, apart from being sustainable, are simply delicious!
You can find more information about BlueCity and other enterprises here: https://www.bluecity.nl/en/
This article closes our first issue of “Choiceful presents”: our newly created, monthly series where we present you with articles, interviews, and tips on a chosen aspect of a sustainable lifestyle. Thank you for being here with us throughout the experience.
We will be talking about natural skincare in Issue 2, so stay Choiceful with us!