Unfortunately, Dr. Vivek Agrawal could not join the panel due to technical difficulties. Instead, he provided information about Annakshetra’s Community Refrigerators in India in writing. You can find it at the bottom of this post.

Tejaswini Pagadala has put together a quick summary of the panel and some of her favourite quotes from the panelists.


We need to shift our thinking of food recovery from seeing it as a service for end receiving group to a service that is a business model

  • Goal of research in reducing food waste is to work towards improving to the food rescue system
  • FoodShift is exploring models of creating a culinary job training program. The reason behind initiating this program is to help people find jobs and set up businesses.
  • There is misconception about waste food. It can always be re-processed and re-distributed to homeless shelters, orphans, etc.

The problem of food waste is a solvable one. It can be transformed into a solution

  • One of the challenges of food rescue is that the quantity that a food rescue organization will be receiving is unpredictable.
  • Another challenge is how under-resourced the sector is. There is also a lack of infrastructure for food recovery and for storage of food. We need to ensure that the food rescue groups have the necessary infrastructure.
  • There is a need to value food recovery in the same way as waste pick-ups. This will not only improve food rescue system but also help in recovering operating costs of organizations working in the space.

Everyone has a role to play in food rescue. Everyone can be part of the solution. Collaboration between various stakeholders is the key to food rescue



Every time you are wasting food, we are either killing a plant or a chicken that could’ve otherwise thrived

  • The main reason behind Rescuing Leftover Cuisine is that I believe that “Food is life”.
  • In modern times, People think of food just as a convenient thing. They don’t know where the food comes from.

Every small bit of food that has been thrown out can be used to feed someone. It can save someone

  • Every time we waste food, we are contributing to killing something for no reason. It makes no sense that we waste 40% of the food we produce.
  • We pick up food and serve Food Banks, homeless shelters, food pantries and kitchens.

Our research forms the base of our business model. Every place is different and has different characteristics. Hence, the research helps us identify the target need and implement better steps for food recovery based on the demography

  • Food rescue is a public good. No one takes responsibility for food waste. It is economically easier to throw away food.
  • There’s no easy alternative to get the waste food picked up. That’s why there are very few models of food rescue.
  • The perception about food waste has to change.

We need to explore scalable models in food rescue sector and look for financially-sustainable models



Annakshetra has stepped in to address the issue of the food loss at home and started its campaign ‘Ghar Ghar Annakshetra’. Annakshetra has placed a refrigerator outside the main gate of its office. It is designed and covered much like an ATM would be. It’s accessible to residents of the area so they can leave food (cooked or raw). The goal is to make sure that no food that can still be consumed ends up in a bin or a landfill.

Annakshetra has found the response to be great. Bread, puris, churma, rice, dhals, fruits and other items near their expiry date can be placed in the fridge. That food can then go on the plates of those who can hardly afford homemade food. This method allows poorer families to not just get a meal, but one that is nutritious. Annakshetra plans to add ten more of these refrigerators at different locations across the same city.

Annakshetra aims to create awareness and habits surrounding food waste. The organization is attempting to implement small changes that could make a big difference in the amount of food we throw away each year. Annakshetra believes that the resources we through away today could help feed our great-grandchildren, who might find themselves with a different set of problems than “too much food.”

  • Vivek Agrawal

    CEO, Kanak Resource Management Limited

    Dr. Vivek Agrawal is the Trustee Secretary of Centre for Development Communication (CDC) which estab...
  • Hanna Morris

    Program Coordinator, Food Shift

    Hanna Morris has worked as the Program Coordinator at Food Shift for the past year. Here, she helped...
  • Robert Lee

    Co-founder of Rescuing Leftover Cuisine, Inc

    Robert Lee is a Gates Millennium Scholar who graduated cum laude from New York University. Coming fr...
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