Tackling North East food poverty with innovation

ediblegivingIt’s often said that hardship provides the spark for innovation so maybe that’s why these two food developments have come about in the North East just now.

During tough times, taking a fresh approach to people getting fed is something that has become as necessary as it is shameful for the UK in 2015.

I came across these two initiatives at an event held in County Durham to showcase local social entrepreneurs and they both attempt to answer that very real need in their local communities.

The first is EdibleGiving.org. The idea is to map all the places that those of us fortunate to have enough food can go to donate some of it for people who haven’t.

Developer Gregory Marler explains his thinking on the site.

I know a few local charities, but if I’m away from home where do I give the food, and what if local details change? I wanted to solve this by creating a UK-wide or international map, and I wanted different organisations to be able to use their own systems to keep the shared map updated.

It’s up and running and people are invited to help add more locations.

Logo-transparent1-e1428586248839Second is The Magic Hat Cafe, a series of pop-up eateries with a difference – the difference being that all the food served up would otherwise have been destined for the rubbish dump.

As well as helping cut down on food waste, the resulting food has to be an ever-changing menu to be able to cope with the available produce and the cafe leaves it up to the diner to decide how much to pay for the meal.

You can find out where Newcastle’s Magic Hat Cafe will be popping up next in the city at the events section of its website here.

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Need a faster food order? Deploying drones for home delivery

Forget supermarket vans, how would you like your groceries be delivered by drone? And why beat eggs, sugar and other messy ingredients – just print off that sugary coating on your cute cupcake?

Neither development is that that far-fetched it seems – these are just two technology-meets-food stories I’ve noticed this week.

First of all the drone delivery vehicle – take a look here where your high street pizza provider Dominos’s shows off its ‘DomiCopter’.

It got a writer at Esquire magazine wondering ‘about drones. About the possibilities they hold for the American consumer. About their ethicality.’

“And even though it was presumably just a PR stunt, and FAA approval for commercial drone use is still a few years off, I find myself thinking that, if it did happen, I’d have a few questions.”

Yes, I think we can safely say we’d all have some questions on that……

So what about printed cakes? This is taking technology more commonly associated with engineering feats, 3D printing, and turning it over to sugar and spice and all things nice.

In a rather breathless interview with The Guardian’s technology section, husband and wife team in LA, Kyle and Liz von Hasseln, explain.

“It’s such an exciting intersection between technology, food, and art. We’ve been getting excited reactions from all over the world. When you see a 3D-printed sugar sculpture that’s unlike any food you’ve seen before, its immediately clear that a whole new set of possibilities has opened up.”

Still…… sounds like the printable lamb chop might be a way off.