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The Stop Food Waste Huddle Story

The Background

The United Nations, from the year 2020, declared 29th of September to be commemorated every year as the International Day for Awareness of Food Loss and Waste (IDAFLW). When I first approached some close friends regarding organizing a programme to observe IDAFLW, Assistant Professor Larissa Rodrigues of the Goa College of Home Science (GCHS) suggested that I discuss the same with her colleague Assistant Professor Sheryl Afonso. When I presented the idea to Sheryl, she was very positive and said she would mull over it, speak to a few people, and revert. The Principal of GCHS, Dr. Mahesh Pai, then readily agreed to the College partnering for the event and was a great support all through.


Ms. Sheryl met Mr. Richard Noronha, Designated Officer FDA (Food and Drugs Administration), Bambolim – Goa, at a function they were invited to; she shared the idea of the IDAFLW Event with him – he liked the idea, offered quite a few suggestions and asked Sheryl and me to present the Event Plan with more details. After multiple meetings and discussions, we then presented the idea to the Director of the Food and Drugs Administration, Smt. Jyoti Sardesai, and we got her full support in organizing the Event.


With some meticulous planning by Sheryl, Richard, and me, and media support from Ramandeep Kaur, Reporter for the Kuriocity Feature of the daily, Navhind Times, we were able to make people aware of this little-known Day of global importance; the publicity generated enabled us to get registrations for the Huddle as well as the pre-Huddle Competition.


It was a rainy morning on the 29th of September, but the excitement among the participants as we saw them coming to the sprawling FDA campus at Bambolim, was palpable.

Scraps to Scrumptious Snacks

Wishing to drive home the message of repurposing food scraps, the Huddle began with a Competition titled “Scraps to Scrumptious Snacks”. Participants were encouraged to create delicacies from leftover food, and it was pleasantly encouraging to play host to thirteen pairs of Competitors varying from school and college students to teachers to homemakers and professionals.



Bagging the First Place at the Competition was the team from the Post Graduate Degree Department of Food Technology of Carmel College of Arts, Science & Commerce, Nuvem – Goa, represented by Swizel Lucia Pereira and Vaishnavi Kasar. Their innovative ‘BroCo Brownie Premix’ was made using banana peel and coconut pulp flour along with the not-so-conventional finger millet flour and orange peel powder to add a touch of tangy delight to the much-loved brownies.


In Second Place was the team from V M Salgaocar Institute of International Hospitality Education, Raia – Goa, represented by Mohamed Bilal and Darrian Batista. Their snacky delight ‘Crispy Chicken Shells’, prepared from leftover chicken, was soul-satisfying and satiating.





The Third Prize was won by Ashitha Misquith and Ayesha Mukadam, students of V M Salgaocar Institute of International Hospitality Education, Raia – Goa, who used leftover chapattis and watermelon rind to stir up Watermelon Rind Quesadillas with Bubble and Squeak and Coriander Root Pesto dip using a blend of fresh ingredients and kitchen leftovers.



A Special Prize was awarded to Ms. Gulab Borkar for her instant energy-providing recipe “Milla” made from a combination of leftover chun (coconut-jaggery mixture) and handy kitchen elements.

The Competition was judged by Ms. Mini Ribeiro, Food Expert & Columnist, Chef Rodwin Rodrigues, and Mr. Richard Noronha from the FDA.


Technical Sessions

Informative sessions designed to educate the participants on the need to make repurposed food a daily practice whilst also considering decreasing food waste at the home level as well as in commercial establishments, formed the core of the One Day Huddle.


“Technology to the Rescue” – an educative session delivered by Mr. Abhinav Apte, Founder (ComePostVille) – kickstarted the day’s proceedings. Mr. Apte explained the various technologies used worldwide to reduce wastage of food. The interaction post this session was quite interesting as some members of the audiences shared experiences in Goa, and shared thoughts on how we could have something similar in Goa. Some ideas like separate branding and marketing of "Imperfect Foods" were quite promising.






“Save Food, Share Food, Share Joy” was the second session of the day, conducted by Mr. Richard Noronha; he explained about the FSSAI proposal designed to connect individuals and organizations having surplus food and recipients who could benefit from this food surplus, thereby helping ‘save food’. This noble cause was an eyeopener waiting to be explored and put into effect by organizations willing to take the lead in bringing the idea to a fruitful conclusion. Mr. Noronha also explained about the RUCO initiative for salvaging used cooking oil - a logistic mechanism already in place for repurposing which is monitored by the FDA. He emphasized that Hotels, Restaurants, Industries, and citizen communities can take benefit of this initiative. Mr. Noronha went on to explain about the Eat Right Campaign driven by the FSSAI nationally which focusses on safe, healthy, wholesome food for all, while also focusing on minimal food wastage. The onus is on locally sourced food which supports local farmers.

“Repurposing Food Scraps” was the title of the session delivered by Chef Rodwin Rodrigues, wherein he explained about various repurposed recipes that are popular abroad; he also explained about his initiative of making chocolate from bean to bar with zero wastage. Chef Rodwin shared a wonderful product having an amazing flavour that was made from peels of carrot and beetroot which was circulated among the audience.



Address by the Director FDA

Smt. Jyoti Sardesai, in her address, explained the importance of reducing food waste and shared some of her own growing years’ experiences of food being re-utilized at home. The core message that she delivered was about going back to our roots and rediscovering traditional knowledge that emphasized zero food waste.

She also shared some very good tips like having smaller spoons for serving that could lead to a reduction of a lot of wastage of food.






Address by the Chief Guest

Ms. Egna Cleetus, IAS, Deputy Collector/ Sub-Divisional Officer/ Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM), Quepem, the Chief Guest at the function, emphasized the need to be local, traditional, and seasonal with our food choices and drove home the importance of avoiding food waste. The young ‘foodie’ – as she described herself – spoke about how she had her eye open for ways in which to repurpose food.




Address by the Principal, Goa College of Home Science

Cutting food waste is a delicious way of saving money, helping to feed the world and protect the planet” – a quote by Tristram Stuart was the underlining idea of Prof. Mahesh Pai’s address to the audience as he spoke about how the learnings at the Goa College of Home Science lead one towards a food waste-free world.

Valedictory Address and Group Photograph

Thanking all those present, Mr. Richard Noronha appealed to all attending the programme to volunteer and make the Save Food movement a continuous campaign to make a significant impact of reducing food wastage.


Demonstration of Rotating Drum Composter

Abhinav Apte demonstrated operations of a rotating drum composter, which makes it easy to mix, aerate the composting pile as well as keep it safe from rats and bandicoots.


Gratitude

Thanks to the Director Mrs Jyoti Sardesai, The Designated Officer Mr Richard Noronha and the entire team at Food and Drugs Administration, without whose support and encouragement, we would not have been able to do this.

Thanks to the Principal Dr Mahesh Pai, the faculty and wonderful team of students at Goa College of Home Science who helped in organizing this event.

Thanks to all the participants, judges, the audience the media personnel.

Last but not the least thanks to Mrs Sheryl Afonso with whom it was such a fun to work in collaboration.

The Way Forward

A Food Waste Audit of the food waste generated in Goa and a Helpline which will enable connect food producers to beneficiaries is the anticipated outcome of the One Day Huddle on “Stop Food Waste” held on Friday, 29th September 2023, at the Food and Drug Administration Hall, Bambolim - Goa.

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