Daisy Tam has developed a crowd-sourcing app called Breadline to fight the alarming level of food waste in Hong Kong. It connects bakeries with volunteers wanting to pick up leftover loaves to deliver to charities.
Her awareness of the food waste issue dates back to 2004, when as a PhD student at Goldsmiths College in London, she had a part-time job selling apples at Borough Market. There she discovered a community of farmers and bakers who exchanged leftover produce, which inspired her dissertation and a passion for urban food security.
“Traders don’t want to waste food,” says Daisy. “So they created their own food-recycling system and I was fascinated by that on a city scale.”
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That experience sits in stark contrast to what she saw in her native Hong Kong when she returned in 2011; she was shocked by the city’s lack of concern about food waste. Daisy found that supermarkets opted to throw away recently expired goods rather than donate them.
And as an assistant professor at Hong Kong Baptist University, she learned that the city only produces three per cent of the food it consumes. So in the event of a natural disaster or trade war, food insecurity would gravely affect all of Hong Kong’s inhabitants.