a good good thing

Fighting food waste, feeding people

March 14, 2019 Neil Thornton + Jack Ratcliffe Season 1 Episode 1
a good good thing
Fighting food waste, feeding people
Show Notes Transcript

We introduce our brand new podcast, A GOOD GOOD THING - a broadcast dedicated to the discussed of positive news, both big and small. This week, we discuss FOODCYCLE, a charity dedicated to reducing food waste and getting grub to where it's needed.

We also get tickled Elmo-style by new research that shows kids who watch Sesame Street have "better life outcomes" then those who don't.

Keep up to date with us over on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter (@agoodgoodthing) and don't forget to rate, review and subscribe so you don't miss the next episode. 

About your hosts

A computational artist currently undertaking a PhD in virtual reality, Jack is motivated by the positive impact technology can have on our day to day lives both operationally and emotionally. Outside of PhDs and podcasting, Jack is a proud dad to three turtles and an ever-growing number of house plants.  Find Jack at @jacktionman on Instagram and Twitter

A digital content editor by day, Neil is also a men’s lifestyle blogger at whatneildid.com where he covers a range of topics from travel and style to health and mental well-being. You’ll never find him too far from a coffee.   Find Neil at @Whatneildid  on Instagram and Twitter 

Jack:   0:09
Hi, everyone, and welcome to... I forgot what the show was called...  

Jack:   0:17
Hi, everyone. And welcome to A Good, Good Thing. A podcast that celebrates positive stories, but big and small from across the globe.

Jack:   0:22
I'm Jack  

Neil:   0:23
and I'm Neil.  

Jack:   0:24
From here on in, this is a good vibes only space.

Neil:   0:35
So this is it. Episode one of A Good Good Thing. I suppose, why are we here, Jack? Why have we started another podcast? Why do people want another podcast and why do they want from us?  

Jack:   0:50
I like starting with the question why we here. Big existential question. Why are we here? 

Neil:   0:55
What we hope to answer over the next 17,453 episodes.  

Jack:   1:00
You just have to... we produce like what... like two a month, 12 months, a year, 60 years left in our lives.  

Neil:   1:08
Yeah, I'm not going to keep up with that math, but yeah, I mean, I think obviously we spoke about this. Well, will be last year. By the time this comes out, ad uh, we've always wanted to work on a project together and we decided as podcast lovers that this would be a lot of fun. I think A Good Good Thing came out when we were chatting that we kind of, there's a lot of really kind of crappy news going on and albeit very, very important news – and I think we should stress that this podcast isn't about us burying our head in the sand – but it is important to shine a light on good and positive news stories that are happening, sometimes within the bad stories that we are seeing in the news. But also just that aren't making headlines  

Jack:   1:55
yeah, for example, climate change bad that schoolgirl called Greta... can't remember what her name is...

Neil:   2:05
I have no idea who you're talking about.  

Jack:   2:06
You know there's that girl, her name's Greta. She's leading like the school climate protests like she's encouraging children to take time off school protest about their climate. That's good. That's a good story time.  

Neil:   2:17
Oooh, climate or education. There's a hard one.  

Jack:   2:20

Neil:   2:21
Yeah I know, becuase you wouldn't have education if the climate goes to shit.  

Jack:   2:24

Neil:   2:25
Can we beep that out? Or we're gonna be beep this podcast? Or we're gonna give a parental advisory?  

Jack:   2:29
Maybe just swear less.  

Neil:   2:31
Okay that's fair, I should try.  

Jack:   2:34
Yes. So anyway, environment bad, but taking affirmative action good. That is a good bit of news. Inside a bad story and we're not saying you should ignore climate change, but maybe we should look at, like, the positive things that people and organisations are doing to affect positive change in the world. Because I think that's missing from a lot of our news media. I mean, not, Greta, we'll see a lot of Greta. She's doing great work.  

Neil:   2:59
I need to look up Greta. Are you sure her name is Greta?  

Jack:   3:01
The existing media is not doing enough to promote...

Neil:   3:07
How have I not heard about Greta, this is why we're here, Jack, we're going to inform the masses.  

Jack:   3:11
I just I'm worried because that whole thing makes me sound like Donald Trump. The media is not during enough. That was not an American accent. By the way. I was going to say it wasn't. It wasn't an attempt.  

Neil:   3:22
This is. This is a fake news Free zone  

Jack:   3:24
This is a fake news free zone. And that makes it sound more like Donald Trump as well.  

Neil:   3:29
We will cut that bit out.  

Jack:   3:31
There is positive stories,  

Neil:   3:34
both big and small  

Jack:   3:35
from around the globe. That's our tagline  

Neil:   3:39
That will be in the intro...

Jack:   3:43
[laughs] came totally off the cuff

Neil:   3:46
like we just made it up,  

Jack:   3:47
You know, solidify around that useful way [muffled]

Neil:   3:50
I liked that we did it as a duo though, we didn't record it before as a duo. I took 17 takes just to do it individually.

Jack:   4:08
This week, we'll be talking about foodcycle.

Jack:   4:10
Neil. What is foodcycle?  

Neil:   4:12
So foodcycle is this great charity that I began working with recently. Foodcycle like was founded in London in 2008 actually by Canadian called Kelvin Chung. Kelvin, I'm very sorry if I've just said your name wrong, but yeah, basically, he found he saw this charity in, or Initiative in America called Campus Kitchen. That was done by some students who basically used their cafeteria and the surplus food to make nutritious meals for their community. So he started it here, and it actually started the London School of Economics. LSC and Basically, what happens is it combines volunteering with surplus food and then community outreach and it's now all over the city from Bow to Norwood Junction, two LSC Kings cross like I said, to Hackney to Marylebone. Basically, in all of these different areas, they're working with local communities, focusing on people that are risk of social isolation. On basically what happens is you can volunteer as a host for the event. You can volunteer as a cook. You can volunteer to pick up food and basically, yeah you go down and it's this really amazing, quite humbling programme to be involved with and you get to meet some incredible people. The one LSC, for example, is specifically to help people who are living with HIV and their families. And it's a really amazing opportunity to get to meet these people and their families to see what they're going through to lend an ear, lend a shoulder. Other ones deal with the elderly community to people with disabilities and It's a really great one for him to be involved in.

Jack:   5:53
and you've been down there and taken part right?  

Neil:   5:57
Yeah twice now, so I'm trying to... There's only about five or six volunteer spots per one in terms of hosting, which is what I like to do. I'm not the best cook, so I try not to. It's not fair on them, so obviously you have to kind of get in there quick with the volunteering. So I try and do it at least once a month.  

Jack:   6:16
That's and so there's I'm on the website now. Foodcycle.org.uk and there's like multiple things you can do this cooking this hosting, but it's also food collection like you can go out and collect the food from the places, which have surplus.  

Neil:   6:29
Yes, I'm not really sure. I think some people do it on bikes. Some people do it on cars and it's done with local partners in the area that donate their surplus food. Whether that's restaurants or supermarkets and then they are all brought to a local centre which again has donated so it could be a church or a community centre, it could be a large cafeteria within a corporate organisation. On those those centres are lent free of charge to the project   

Jack:   6:53
There's also different levels of like engagement as well. There's like leadership volunteer roles you can do like you could kind of use this is a way of kind of bettering your own experience of leading teams and things?  

Neil:   7:04
Yeah, massively, it kind of goes, It depends on how much you can or want to get involved. So, as I said, you can have the kind of regular volunteering roles, whether you're cooking, hosting or food collecting. And then you have the leadership versions of those so you could be the coordinator for the food pickups. You could be the lead host. Or you could be the community outreach officer that helps set up maintain relationships, keeps the communication going with the wider community. So people know that the service there so it really is open for different levels off. That's a person resource. And this time you have. So I've done some research on this subject, and by research, I mean, I went on the food cycle website on. I found out some statistics about what they how much they actually benefit the community. So in a year they save 265 tonnes off food waste and bear in mind, a tonne is like 907 kilogrammes. Um, totally natural that I know that No, no, it's impressive. So that's like 250,000 kilogrammes of food that would otherwise go to waste, which this programme has kind of recycled in tow. Something like 265,000 meals. Yeah, it's just insane, Like I think for me personally, food waste is such a bugbear. I try so hard to minimalize the food that I throw away. I'm very much sometimes to my detriment. No, I don't pay that much attention to the EU's buy and sell by dates or best before And i think so many people are so nervous about going past the states. The amount of food is that's just tucked away. I actually probably looked up. The amount of food that is chucked away is phenomenal and could solve so many problems of people just a bit more aware.  

Jack:   8:46
Some might say there were 10 million tonnes of food waste thrown away. I just come to me from the from this guy got blasted in the cloud. Yeah, actually, I have this information. So it's it's kind of different years and in different differs by source. But apparently in the UK, we throw away or waste. Like all factors of food production and consumption, we throw away over 10 million tonnes of food that could be like it was Get back. Food Cycle manages to save 265 tonnes. We are getting rid of in the whole food production cycle. 10 million tonnes off food like if you could. If you could save that wasted food, we could almost feel like I know a couple of towns across the country for the entire year, which that outrageous  

Neil:   9:36
Yeah, it is kind of beyond comprehension, Really, like if you think about it wasn't something. I think last year 1,000,000 people were using food banks on DNA, and that's even that's beyond food waste. That's other food that is bought, donated for that purpose. If it became a lot more structured in councils and communities on what to do with food ways, where you could go and, how to properly use it, it could just end so many of these problems. I think it's great when certain supermarkets are now starting to sell their ugly vegetables. Because we're at a point is a consumer where we don't even like a carrot that's slightly bent to the left or we don't like a pepper that's got it den or a lump in it, which is again just unbelievable when they're You know, when you think about people around the world who barely have access to food or clean drinking water and were crying over a carrot with a 45 degree bend in it.  

Jack:   10:33
I would love a 45 degree bank. 90 degrees would be better  

Neil:   10:36
Even to the point where we change their colour because we just think they look pretty. It's, you know, it's really easy as a stable, middle class person to say to be able to say this because obviously for other people, you know they have to, they can't buy organic can't by this, and they can't buy certain things. And we may be able to. But it is still so important to have that in your mind and to know what you're doing with your food and to know what you're actually buying and to knowing what is. Actually, you know, it's just you're just being picky. It is a preference over, over, like actually what you could just take home and and be nutritionally filled with.  

Jack:   11:14
I know you said we should keep that in our minds, but I'm literally just thinking about right angle carrots right now.  

Neil:   11:21
That's the thing if you see it in a supermarket and you do not want to pick it up because you for some reason, associate it with being like that's not going to taste is good. It's not gonna be the same yet you're going to cut it up. So it's going to look the same once it's done. So I do think it's a great initiative for supermarkets to and they sell him a cheaper price, which is also great, the only one that is a trap. And I tell you, this is I bought some of their like ugly or whatever they're called from Tescos. They're strawberries, thinking that that was like a full on punnet, It was only like 90p and I was like, Great, this is really great. But actually they are so tiny trying to get like the little leaf and stem off was impossible and I kept crushing half of them because they were so tiny. So that was slight, slight false economy because I actually found that I was probably wasting half of the planet because I couldn't get anything out from them.  

Jack:   12:15
Food cycle deals with supermarket waste on waste from these points that could be collected, which is like 15% of the domestic food waste in the UK and so if you could get that down from like the 1.8 million tonnes on, we could get food cycle up to taking care ofthe like a lot more that we would have this amazing environment. But there's still so much home food waste which is is outrageous, like the average person apparently waste 3.2 kilogrammes off food waste po week, 3.2 kilogrammes. I don't think I even eat 3.2 kilogrammes. Probably three point.  

Neil:   12:53
I probably definitely that probably only a couple of days, but yeah, that's a great point. I think it's it's obviously going to be so much harder to police, the public and individuals. But I definitely agree with that. The place to start is commercial food waste on. Do you know these restaurants and you know, kind of lunch cafes and stuff like that. There should be some sort of levy on what there is left is the right word of, you know, on the food that they're wasting their R rest. There are plenty of them that do have great schemes where they do donate and they take fans around and donate food to the homeless. But there are plenty as well that don't even reduce their food at the end of the day to try and shift it. People do buy and eat it. They will just throw it away because they don't want to give it away on. I just think it's unacceptable.  

Jack:   13:40
Well, you know what's wrong with food cycle being a good, good thing? There's actually a positive government action to tackle food waste. So last month, Michael Gove set out the government's plan to eliminate food waste going into landfill by 2030. So to take those 10 million tonnes on to find a way to reduce the amount of waste created amount of food that turns into a waste on the amount of that waste, which goes into non useful environment. So you take food you throw in the bin. The being goes to a landfill goes in that landfill that doesn't create high quality, calm boss that creates landfill waste. I mean, it still gets degraded, but it takes time and it's not useful, whereas along with all these policies to reduce reuse, food about get through to people, which is obviously the best use of it getting people eating food There is also this initiative. To, if we can't use for food or if we can't get the food to correct place, then shifting it to composting so I could go back into the food cycle rather than in other places. So another good good thing is the fact that the government is taking action on this is not the first time. Like and and World War Two there were big initiatives like feed the waste scraps to pigs so that it continues tto be useful, and it seems like part of that mentality might be coming back. So listening to this, a lot of people might be thinking that getting involved with food cycle could be a good good thing you keep repeating that time. Said it so many times. Yeah, well, I think it's a good good title, all right, And some statistics for that. 290,000 meals cooked last year 265 tonnes saved 1200 meals a week, 39 projects in and around London, Um, and getting involved in that 87% of guests say that has had a positive effect on the community. 2/3 of the people that attend have made new friends there on. 85% of volunteers come away from there, experience understanding other cultures or other backgrounds a little bit better. So it's not just that we're reducing food waste. It's not just making people. I feel that they have a positive impact on the community. They get to know the community, they make friends. But you also get to enhance your understanding, which I think means that it's a threefold good, good thing. Good, good, good, good. Good thing.  

Neil:   16:01
Yeah, definitely. I think kind of from my own personal experience, like for me and my history. My background, like nothing, is more sociable than food. I think nothing show someone you care more than wanting to feed them and nourish them on. Saito actually be able to meet and bond with people around. Eating is just my favourite thing. Like I think we all love going out and eat with our friends and having pull over for food. And I just think it's it's a great way to meet different people and I've met an incredibly diverse amount of people in a very short time on, but it is really easy to volunteer. So we need to do is go to the website. Which Jack is food cycle dot or dot UK? Yes, exactly. And then you click on get involved on. Then you can sign up and register, and then basically you choose your nearest or preferred location in London. There are some locations outside of London and Then you find the the nearest one on your calendar and. Click Sign up, and you obviously can then pick what volunteer or you want whether you want to be a cook, whether you want to be a host or whether you want to help with food collection or if you're gonna get involved in leadership ones, the only open up a certain amount of time before the actual event. I think it's about four weeks, but that's actually a guess. From what I remember doing And, then obviously, once it's done, you can go into a wait list if if it's fully booked, but otherwise you'd have to find a little bit later, so it is worth just keeping an eye on your diaries. So when those ones that are a good time for you are released, they happen all throughout the week, evenings on, like weekend days on weekend evenings. So it is really, really easy to get involved, and it's it's really worth it. Can I volunteer to be the person that goes up and picks the awards when they're given to the scheme like it's 13 separate awards? I would like to volunteer to be the guy you like. I think if you get involved enough and you work away up into leadership roles, then I don't see why. No, but yet, like to that point, you know, it kind of shows how how great. What they're doing is the amount of charity of the year awards. They're winning. It is yet. It's just great, and I think it's for anyone that is, knows and has that feeling. They want to help give back, and they want to do something. It's a great way to tip dip a toe in the water, volunteering because it's it's not asking for matters of time, your view that for about four hours ish And help set up. You help clear up, and you could just do it once and not do it again. You could do it once a month. You could do it twice a month. It is really super flexible. Which is why I think it's actually success while you think it's a good good thing.  

Neil:   18:31

Neil:   18:48
That's it for foodcycle. I know that there is a lot more good, good things happening in the world. So, Jack, what have you found this week?  

Jack:   18:53
So you know, I love science. I spent a whole lifetime science-ing.

Neil:   18:58
haha, official term.  

Jack:   18:59
Yeah, it is the official term

Neil:   19:00
Is it?  

Neil:   19:01
No, I know I could make up. Yes, yes. Scientific. Do it with a very stern voice. That's my good news. I found the town for taking the activity of science. Science-ing.  

Neil:   19:13
You heard it here first.  

Jack:   19:15
So what I have done is because I got a bugbear about how most of the science storeys you see in the newspapers are really negative ones. Like if anyone reads the daily mail, which you should, then you see like stories, which always coffee beans gives you cancer. Carrots give you cancer breathing gives you cancer like just terrible science storeys. And you know what? There were so many people working in academia working and scientists who are spending their time trying to make positive changes for the world. And those stories don't get enough publicity. So I have been calling the web. By that I mean, going on reddit and. I've been looking like the most popular and Happiest science storeys I confined. And of course, there are a 1,000,000,000 of them, so I don't know. Maybe I should just, like, threw out some titles and you could pick, like, which one you want to hear about.  

Neil:   20:03
Yes, I'm good. Hit me.  

Jack:   20:05
Okay. You want to, like, give me a time that otherwise you could be here.  

Neil:   20:10
You are going to give you what, 30 seconds? Yeah, 30

Jack:   20:15
30 seconds is fine.

Neil:   20:16
All right. You have 30 seconds. Are you ready? We have a lot of time in the podcast. Right. 3, 2, 1... Go.  

Jack:   20:25
Okay. So Internet based alcohol interventions work. So they found out that if you use and I can online thing and you're an alcohol dependent person, you could successfully lowers your dependence on alcohol. Computer games have been used to help Children with autism and a DHD preschool. Children who watch Sesame Street do better in school, especially boys testing drugs at festivals actually saves lives. Some people weren't sure it was.

Neil:   20:48
Five seconds

Jack:   20:48
MIT made an actual working shrink. Ray,  

Neil:   20:53
Was that was it? You cut that off? You could have got an extra one in. Fine. Stop. Now.  

Jack:   20:59
Just so excited about the shrink ray.

Jack:   21:02
Also, I'm surprised you were more excited. It's a shrink ray!  

Neil:   21:05
Yeah, but to be hoenst, I mean, I find the concept of having a spring break kind of petrifying. To be honest, I actually want to hear more about why Sesame Street helps boys do better in education.  

Jack:   21:16
Are your sure you don't want to hear about the shrink ray?

Neil:   21:16
No, you can tell me about that afterwards, but I want to hear all about Sesame Street.  

Jack:   21:20
Okay, because shrink three makes things 1000 times smaller.  

Neil:   21:24
Like a house.  

Jack:   21:25
No, I mean the only works on already small things.  

Neil:   21:28
The house more like an amoeba?

Jack:   21:28
Maybe smaller

Neil:   21:31
That's that's not really that exciting to get back to Sesame Street. Please.

Jack:   21:35
Took me a long time to remember what an amoeba was

Neil:   21:38
I wasn't even sure if it's the right thing. 

Jack:   21:39
Could have said anything.  

Neil:   21:41
It's fine. Go to Sesame Street.  

Jack:   21:43
Alright, So Sesame Street, some researchers looked at the Sesame Street people who watch sesame street Children who worked this mystery. Adults who watched Sesame Street on then assessed their learning outcomes and their job prospects on DH what their careers are now on. By examining all of this data they worked out, the Children who watched Sesame Street when they were young end up having better educational outcomes and better career outcomes than Children who do not watch Sesame Street. So is that based on the fact that it is meant to be an educational show, so it's more productive. I mean, it's it's tough. They don't go into that. I think that's almost a different question, which they weren't looking to answer because, like, kind of make some hypotheses about that. And I guess the assumption is yes. It's made to be educational on these kids have got, but they're just drawing, trying to see if that link exists so well. Taken safely and reliably say, is Children who have watched Sesame Street have better learning outcomes. I mean, it could be argued that parents who make their Children what Sesame Street are also parents who make their Children read more books because it's consciously educational. But it is nice to know that a show that was designed to educate Children is now actually showing some positive outcome, especially for boys who traditionally underperforming education environments.  

Neil:   23:07
Yeah, I mean especially. But I mean, I've seen the shows that my nieces, nephews and God doors watch, and some of them are just trippy. I swear that it's just about getting as many flashes and sparkles in to keep them occupied and so that they don't like lose their attention. But they're definitely not not as many educational ones to the tradition of Sesame Street.  

Jack:   23:26
Have you seen the creepy like YouTube videos where, like they're generated by computer, the Children shows but generated by computers on So no one actually really makes them? These computers just generate these Children's like TV shows on then Children just watch them is really creepy as a whole Whole thing about investigating that and making sure that we're not like disturbing, but I mean, we've always everyone's always been around point. Teletubbies came out. They were like Children aren't using proper language anymore. It's gonna affect their Turned out Everyone was fine. Yeah, this is very true. Except Tinky Winky.   

Neil:   24:00
I met Dipsy last year. So I was at London Fashion Week men's and there was a show by Bobby Ability and his collection was in partnership with the Teletubbies and dipsy him/her/itself was theirself, was there in person, in costume with the voice. It was the best slash creepiest thing ever and he she they came tumbling down the runway after the show was great,  

Jack:   24:32
literally tumbling?

Neil:   24:34
No kinda like tumbling dancing.  

Jack:   24:35
Okay, well, it's who I don't know what the educational outcome from watching Teletubbies was. Maybe something for future research, but for Sesame Street, definitely positive outcomes for people who have watched it. So nothing on the Muppets.  

Neil:   24:54
Part of me was thinking about getting confused with the Muppets because they're big birds and Sesame Street. I knew Elmo had good good vibes.  

Jack:   25:01
Yeah, he is seasme street. It's Difficult, doesn't you learn in the muppets?  

Neil:   25:06
No, because isn't them up? It wasn't the whole point that the Muppets was kind of also for adults like, if you see their movies and stuff, it's always a bit. There's a lot more adult stuff in it, like theme wise, but I think maybe just not watched enough Muppet. I mean I can't say that I watched masses assessment, which is probably why I failed academically way have a degree and planned everything. Um, but cool. Okay, great. So any parents that are listening need to stick their kids in front of Sesame Street? I mean, on the daily.

Jack:   25:40
I'm not confident enough to say no, it's that studies there. Okay, I'll send you a link. You can Thanks. Melissa Kearney and Philip Levine. Levine being really

Neil:   25:51
go. Adam, it's tough. We should have replaced earnings with numbers.  

Neil:   25:57
I mean, a little bit concentration camp, but fine.

Neil:   26:18
Okay, Jack, we're out of time. 

Jack:   26:20
But there are so many good, good things we have to talk about.  

Neil:   26:23
Okay, Well, I've already pressed the faded music's that's coming. So you have very little time. 

Jack:   27:14
I'm gonna get in right now. So Africa's first female anti poaching unit has beenset up to deal with poaching. Obviously, robots now deliver heat with baby growl directly kohl directly into the barrier reef character...[music fades over].

Neil:   27:14
Thanks for listening to this week's episode of A Good Good Thing If you like listening, don't forget to rate review and leave us your messages of your good, good things that are happening.  

Jack:   27:23
Good good things  

Neil:   27:26
You're supposed to chime in with something else

Jack:   27:27
 That's it. That's what I chimed in with. That's what my thing was.

Neil:   0:00