Foodwastestudies members at the Scarborough Fare: Global Foodways and Local Foods in a Transnational City conference

By Leo Sakaguchi – @jampgade

I am delighted to publish my first blog post as the new Social Media and Communications Manager for the group and soon will publish an article on my work and the goals for the foodwastestudies group.

I wrote my first report about this years annual meeting and conference by ASFS/AFHVS/CAFS hosted at the University of Toronto at Scarborough. Several members of the foodwastestudies group came together and organized 3 sessions on food waste and 1 round table discussion on food waste research, policy and practice.

The number of researchers working on food waste at this conference  is expanding with 9 contributors from the US, Canada, UK/Australia, Indonesia and Germany. Our scholars are making a great contribution to the variety of topics at this conference and sharing it with outstanding food scholars. Usually communicating via virtual media, we are grateful for the opportunity  to meet in person!  It is great to have the foodwastestudies group as platform for academic networking and most importantly friendship.

Foodwastestudies members at Scarborough (left to right: Christian Reynolds, Tammara Soma, Madison Maguire, Leo Sakaguchi)

The 3 panel sessions addressing food waste includes topics across multiple stakeholders and is packed into two days.  On the 23rd of June, Madison Maguire (York University) and me, Leo Sakaguchi (UC Berkeley) presented our research and Master’s theses on food waste in restaurants including obtained data on behavior both in Toronto (Madison) and the city of Berkeley (Leo), knowledge and needs of restaurants targeting the reduction of food waste. Christian Reynolds (University of South Australia) addressed the differences between socio-economical behavior on food waste in the UK and Australia and conducted a multilevel analysis on food waste. He also pointed out the different definitions of food waste and connected income with an increased amount of waste along the whole supply chain of food. The presentation were followed up by a vivid Q&A session by conference participants from multiple areas along the food supply chain, which gave a big value to the discussion atmosphere.

The conference morning of Friday, June 24th started with a food waste researcher coffee

Food waste researchers from 4 continents at the conference


social at 8.30am. Most of the food waste delegates attending the conference came together and networked. I was amazed that food waste researchers pull on one string in most of discussed issues and controversies given by publicity or social media. This meeting was very helpful as a networking event, since the disconnect between researchers in the field of food waste still seems to be significant. More information needs to be shared and cross-sectoral contacts to be made, not only among academic scholars.

The second Friday panel with the aim of connecting knowledge on the consumer level and how food turns into waste across cultures. Tammara Soma (University of Toronto) presented her research about the influence of class and privilege in household food waste generation in Indonesia and the diverse impacts of food waste generation in this specific culture considering class of the society and privileges given. Carly Fraser (University of Guelph) followed up with pictures (including her Instagram channel on wasted foods) and the perceptions of food waste in a very visually appealing presentation and integrating the

Q&A at the second panel

audience touching humans behavior directly. Carly also covered systems and institutional influences and the households responsibilities in this study. Closing the session, Laura Moreno (UC Berkeley) came up with the transformation in household food waste in the US and how to prevent food waste. Laura especially made the point, how people’s view on good in refrigerators influence their behavior in a very humoristic way and left the whole audience with a smile on their faces.

In the last presentation session on the politics and policies of food waste detailed case studies will be presented from the US and Canada. Roni Neff (John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health) opened the afternoon session targeting food waste policies and how to achieve the set food waste reduction targets by governments and transnational organizations to reduce food waste with a strong focus on prevention. Jennifer Otten (University of Washington) who deals with the role of city agencies in fostering commercial food waste prevention and recovery based on the example city Seattle with a consideration of the food waste issue cross-sectors. Shannon Millar (University of Guelph) tackled the politics of food waste reclamation in Metro-Vancouver with an interesting outlook on economic and social values of food waste. Wrapping up the panel, Alexis Van Bemmel supervised by Kate Parizeau (University of Guelph) explained the barriers and opportunities of food waste diversion in the city of Guelph, ON (Canada) pointing out barriers and opportunities around food waste.

The day finished with a round-table discussion on wasted food with regard on research, policy and practice hosted by Jennifer Otten, Kate Parizeau, Tammara Soma and Laura Moreno. Since this was a very fruitful conversation, this event will be explained in a separate post.

left to right: Leo Sakaguchi, Laura Moreno, Tammara Soma

Overall, the conference was a great opportunity for food waste researchers to meet up and create a presence in social media. The tweets about food waste had a significant number among all topics of the conference, also being led by the fantastic contributors during the conference with a constant online-presence while reporting.