Selina Juul: “Take what you can eat, but eat what you can take”

“We need to change the way that we consume,” says crusader in an apron, Selina Juul and she has been on a mission in her adopted home of Denmark to changed the attitudes of not only the shops but consumers as well.

She is originally from Russia and she reminisces about life in early 90’s Moscow when it was still part of the Soviet Union. In those days, the Russian supermarkets were very sparsely filled with produce and for this reason, Juul’s grandmother always said: “we must not waste”.

It was later in her life when Juul moved to Denmark and she saw a very different side of consumerism. The grocery shops were overflowing with food items and she was shocked at the abundance. She turned her shock into activism and started a Facebook page called Stop Wasting Food which has since turned into a massive movement in Denmark with up to an estimated 25% reduction in food wastage within 5 years.

Juul estimates that one person wastes up to twenty hours and 900€ per year for food that is basically bought from the shop to end up feeding the garbage. “There needs to be a big shift in attitude not only to how you eat but also how you buy and cook the food. Why not take a picture of the contents of your fridge before you go to the shop so you don’t buy something that you already have?”, like an unopened tub of cottage cheese that will slowly start to fester behind other items.

She also says to take a “first in-first out” approach to food perishables like the restaurants have, the oldest food gets used first.

You should also avoid the dreaded U.F.O, the unidentified frozen object, that mysterious item that you bagged up and put in the freezer only to forget what it is, leading to the apprehension of its use.

Other ways to reduce wastage are to use the smaller basket at the shop to discourage over buying, cook smaller portions to begin with and learn to develop better sense when actually cooking. That half a tomato or those slightly soft onions in the fridge’s vegetable container are perfectly good ingredients to use in a tomato soup as one example.

Juul also wants you to love the wonky and the ugly, those non-perfectly shaped tomatoes, apples or that carrot that grown two legs but are still fresh and which no-one has any idea of when they are used to cook a meal.

Finally, she says that there is a lack of respect in wasting food, “I think it’s a lack of respect for the producers, the growers and just generally a lack of respect for your own time and money”

 

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