Dream Team Food Waste will focus on researching and addressing food waste on our campus and the surrounding area.
Across the globe, unnecessary food is discarded while others suffer from hunger. This affects both people and the environment, as produced food contains wasted resources, water, and energy. In the Netherlands alone, around 33 kilograms of food and 65 litres of drinks per person are wasted annually. This needs to change, also on our campus.
This Dream Team will focus on raising awareness among VU students and staff about food waste and promote sustainable choices. We aim to foster a responsible and sustainable culture in which we keep food waste to a minimum.
How can we, for example, better align supply and demand at campus eateries to reduce food waste? How can we ensure that people don’t order too much food, takeaway or bring too much food that won’t be actually consumed? How can we repurpose leftovers to prevent waste?
In this Dream Team we will work closely with the professionals on the VU campus, provide advice and make a real impact!
1. Education and Awareness: Organize workshops, lectures and events to educate students and staff about the problem of food waste and how they can make a difference - at work and at home.
2. Communication Campaigns: Raise awareness on campus through posters, flyers, TV screens, and social media to encourage students and staff to take action.
3. Practical Tips: Advice on meal planning, reusing leftovers, portion control, and smart grocery shopping.
4. Collaboration with Eateries: Raise awareness at eateries and encourage measures like smaller portions and donating surplus to charities.
5. Minimizing Food Waste at VU Events: Encourage organizers to take measures to minimize waste, for example by making sure leftovers have a good second destination.
These are just a few examples. Let's devise practical solutions that promote mindful food practices.
Supervisor/ambassador: Ingeborg Brouwer
Ingeborg is a nutrition scientist and professor of Nutrition for Healthy Living at the Department of Health Sciences. Her research focuses on the effects of food on health and sustainability. She looks at how different foods and diets impact health and well-being outcomes, and how much pressure they put on the environment – for example, when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions or land use. Ingeborg is looking forward to working with the Dream Team students to make the Netherlands a better place.
Supervisor/ambassador: Margreet Olthof
Margreet works at the Department of Health Sciences, is a nutritional scientist and director of the Master’s programme in Health Sciences. She conducts research in the field of nutrition and human health, including nutrition in specific phases of life (young and old), the health effects of what we eat and drink (such as coffee), and sustainable, healthy food for people and planet. She’s happy to take up the challenge with the Dream Team of making concrete, creative plans that will help people in the Netherlands make healthier and more sustainable food choices, as part of the grand “planet-friendly food” mission.
This team is linked to the Science for Sustainability profile theme.