Cheap sustainability-lunches for less food waste and a greater sense of community

Three students in the kitchet at Rindi. They are cooking.

In the kitchen of the Student Union Rindi in Visby, low-cost lunches are being prepared from waste-smart food from the island's supermarkets. The project was started with support from the University's climate pot. Photo: Daniel Olsson.

Last year a new initiative started with the aim of reducing food waste and at the same time increasing the availability of sustainable, good-value food. Every week cheap lunches are served that are made with ingredients from local supermarkets that otherwise would have gone to waste. The project has received funding from the University's climate pot and has attracted new visitors to the student union.

A stones throw away from Campus Gotland in Visby you can find Gotland's Student Union Rindi. Here, decently priced meals are prepared and served every Thursday. The meals are made from ingredients nearing their best-before date or with cosmetic defects. Behind the project "Campus Gotland Community Kitchen" are a group of former students with an interest in sustainability. Now their vision of saving food has been put into practice in a big way.

Did you feel what a great atmosphere there was at lunch today? It's fantastic to be able to work with this. It's perfect for us to be here at Rindi, there is even a fully-equipped kitchen that was just standing here unused, says Orsolya Demes who is responsible for student welfare issues at Gotland's student union and one of the founders of the project.

Fie Brooker-Bulling, Leonie Paul and Orsolya Demes.

Fie Brooker-Bulling, Leonie Paul and Orsolya Demes were all previously masters students at Campus Gotland who started the food waste project. A lot of work is done by volunteers. Photo: Daniel Olsso

Sold out every time

Orsolya and her colleagues have just finished serving "deconstructed burrito" with bread and salad to more than 60 guests. For dessert they served a persimmon pie with whipped cream. The menu and price varies based on the ingredients available. Today's lunch cost 60 SEK.

We are sold out every time. We now hope that we can expand our cooperation and get even more shops and suppliers involved. That would make it easier for us to plan our activities. As it is now we set the menu the day before. You have to be creative says Fie Brooker-Bulling, project leader and doctoral student at the University's research school within sustainable development.

Financed through "the climate pot"

The project ”Campus Gotland Community Kitchen” is financed with funding from Uppsala University's climate pot. The funding contributes to the costs of salaries and ingredients as well as some equipment. The initiative is built upon a cooperation with local producers and supermarkets that offer waste-smart food at a reduced cost. The ingredients are collected each week with a bike trailer. Sustainability is the guiding word for everything they do, both big and small.

Fie and Orsolya explain that the vision with the food-waste restaurant goes further than the end of the project period. The aim is to carry on even in the autumn. To achieve this the project would need to be self-funding.

This project has really lifted the atmosphere and activities at the student union and has become a natural meeting place for students, university employees and the general public. It feels important to be able to demonstrate tangible solutions for food and food waste. And of course it is always popular when you can offer a cheaper alternative.

Facts about Uppsala University's climate pot

Uppsala University's climate pot was established in 2020 as a way of strengthening and renewing efforts to reduce climate impact. Projects and initiatives that contribute to reducing the University's climate impact can apply for funding of up to 250 000 SEK. Initiatives which focus on new ways of thinking and creativity are especially encouraged to apply.

Project funding can be applied for by University employees, students or organisational units within Uppsala University. Campus Gotland Community Kitchen is one of seven projects that were granted funding for the academic year 2022/2023.

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