THE CONTEXT of the LIFE FOSTER project
In recent years, food waste has become one of the environmental and social emergencies with a worldwide impact.
If we look at the latest available data (2019) provided by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), an international organization active in the fight against climate change, about 931 million tons of food have been wasted: 61% of this waste is reported at the consumer level, 26% within the catering sector and 13% within supermarkets and other retailers.
There are many projects and interventions at an international level that are operating in this area and, given the importance of the topic, it is expected that many new initiatives will be launched in the coming years, in order to achieve target 12.3 – halving the global food waste of production and consumption by 2030 – within the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Waste occurs during distribution, sale, processing, and final consumption and is determined by behavioral factors. According to the FAO, most of these losses could be solved through the implementation of tools and methodologies to identify critical stages along the food chain and act with preventive strategies.
The approach proposed by the LIFE FOSTER project is focused on this aspect, based on a systemic vision of food waste and, at the same time, aimed at adopting waste prevention solutions suitable for the context of catering companies.
The key words on which the concrete contribution of LIFE FOSTER is based are prevention, professional training and education to increase the awareness of catering operators and, more generally, of citizens.
The project is part of a new and more general attention of society to education for the prevention of waste, and to the opportunities that are opening up thanks to the activation of virtuous relationships aimed at creating a circular economy system.
LIFE FOSTER PROJECT
Starting from these assumptions, the LIFE FOSTER project, launched 4 years ago in four European countries (Italy, Spain, France and Malta) thanks to the co-financing of the LIFE program of the European Commission, aimed at reducing waste from the catering sector through three levers : PROFESSIONAL TRAINING, EDUCATION, COMMUNICATION.
For the realization of the LIFE FOSTER project, the skills and experiences of active Partners in the research sector, professional training and the world of catering have been combined under the coordination of the Italian network for professional training ENAIP NET, with the aim of developing training models, disseminating good practices and proposing awareness-raising initiatives. The common commitment was to activate, at the basis of the activities, the transfer of ‘green’ knowledge and skills to the catering professionals of tomorrow, in order to trigger virtuous behavior. In this way, it was intended to act in the production processes by rethinking them on a circular model (waste prevention, environmental protection and innovative practices).
THE PARTNERS OF THE LIFE FOSTER PROJECT
Vocational training institutions: ENAIP NET Impresa Sociale (Italy), Agence nationale pour la formation professionnelle des adultes – AFPA (France), Confederación Española de Centros de Enseñanza – CECE (Spain), Institute of Tourism Studies – ITS (Malta)
Industry & trade associations: Italian Federation of Chefs – FIC (Italy), Malta Business Bureau – MBB (Malta) scientific partner: University of Gastronomic Sciences – UNISG (Italy)
THE RESULTS OF THE LIFE FOSTER PROJECT
Thanks to the work carried out in these 4 years by the partners, who have not stopped even with the pandemic, many results have been obtained that open interesting prospects for future years and which were presented at the final project conference organized at the Campus of the University of Gastronomic Sciences of Pollenzo (CN) at the beginning of July. Present were Silvio Barbero Vice President of UNISG, Giorgio Sbrissa President of ENAIP NET and Laura D’Aprile Director of the Department for Ecological Transition and Investments of the Italian Ministry of the Environment, the partners of the Project, and testimonials of best practice.
6500 students trained in the presence | 320 face-to-face trainers | 4000 students and trainers trained through e-learning | More than 60 vocational training centers involved | 3 e-learning courses developed | 500 Professionals Attending Webinars During the Distancing Period | Selected by ICESP and UNI as BEST PRACTICE FOR THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY IN ITALY | 10 official videos of the project made | 430 Ambassadors of the Manifesto for the prevention of food waste | A WEB application has been created for measuring waste in the kitchen: FOOD WASTE FLOW BALANCE | More than 50 events organized, both online and in person | 2000 awareness questionnaires collected from the external public | 15 school training laboratories involved in the monitoring of food waste.
All these achievements are the result of the commitment of an entire professional training system that wants to be the protagonist of the present and future environmental, digital and social challenge.
According to the data, however, there is still a long way to go to reduce food waste by 50%. Thanks to initiatives such as LIFE FOSTER, however, we have the opportunity to train and educate new generations of food professionals capable of promoting new, more sustainable lifestyles.