Even during quarantine there’s something your loo roll fortress can’t protect you from. It’s something that’s already in your home… It’s in all our homes and that is the plight of… FOOD WASTE!

The launch of the Climate Venture Collective (CVC), on 13th March, was held in the heart of Shoreditch, London. Newspeak House hosts events like these, free of charge, to nurture and inspire emerging communities. It turned out to be the only in-person workshop CVC would fit in before the COVID-19 took over shortly after, and, like many others, we have since adapted to online video conferencing. This first workshop, a 2.5 hours ideation session to tackle climate change, was where Lockdown Leftovers was born. Food waste was the first chosen topic as it is a leading cause of climate change. Did you know, all the wasted food could feed the world’s hungry 4x over? And, if food waste was a country it would be the 3rd largest carbon polluter, after the USA and China.

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Snapshot from the CVC workshop on 13th May — Ideating using Deskle

The aim of the workshop was to come up with as many ideas to tackle food waste as possible and to see if any of them had legs to become our first project. The CVC ideation workshops involve minimal discussion and a series of timed tasks to maximise idea generation. This is the theory behind this structure: say there are 20 people in a room, through conversation we might naturally merge potentially 20 ideas into much less, perhaps 5, by influencing and shaping each other’s thoughts, resulting in a much narrower focus to build on later. Whereas, by working independently, those 20 ideas remain varied with a bigger range of potential.

From the bunch of ideas put forward, a food waste campaign on social media was voted as the most impactful and easiest to actualise. After that first workshop, a small group of us started to work on the project believing it was an idea worth pursuing. We wanted to create awareness in a fun and unique way with the mission that if every person made a small change we could dramatically reduce food waste and help tackle climate change. Instagram was the obvious choice due to the popularity, design and ease of sharing and influencing others.

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#lockdownleftovers Instagram posts

We aim to educate people on how to reduce food waste in the home, while saving money in the process. The #lockdownleftovers challenge involves people posting photos or videos of delicious meals cooked using food past its sell-by/best-by date and leftovers. Sharing their own food waste tips over a 7 day challenge series and nominating friends to join in.

The campaign has now been running about a month with positive interest and support from other food waste organisations, chefs and influencers. It has been a slow start, which has been beneficial while we find our feet and message. We recently took on 10 new volunteers and formally created 3 teams: content and engagement; strategy and PR. It has been a real boost bringing in new energy and a mix of people from different backgrounds. We emphasise bringing each team members’ personality and passion to the project and encouraging a collaborative approach.

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(left) the 7 day challenge, (centre) Monday’s challenge to transform leftovers into something new, e.g. porridge to pancake, (right) Thursday’s challenge is to cook something with 5 ingredients or less.

Being the first project to come from the very first workshop back in March, and now that 4 or 5 other CVC projects are setting up, it is inspiring to see how much, and how quickly, can come from a group of people collaborating to tackle climate change. With the full team settling in and our followers steadily growing, we are really excited for the impact Lockdown Leftovers could have. We understand the importance in getting this message out there, especially to bring something fun and meaningful during this utterly bizarre time.

If you want to sign up to join the Climate Venture Collective please click here

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