“We are either going to have a future where women lead the way to make peace with the Earth or we are not going to have a human future at all.”
― Vandana Shiva
This famous quote by Indian environmental activist Vandana Shiva underlines the essence of sisterhood, who may not be biologically related but embodies a strong bond between women environmentalists, dedicating their lives to defend the planet. Similarly, the leading ladies behind Taste Before You Waste resonates the sisterhood vibe through their collective support and action towards combating food waste. Follow through the exciting journey of the leading ladies behind Taste Before You Waste and how their roles and responsibilities have changed over the years.
How Luana started the journey of TBYW:
Taste Before You Waste started in late 2012 with Luana, who – inspired by a documentary on food waste – went out to her local grocery shops in Amsterdam East. To her amazement, most of the shop owners were more than happy to give her all their surplus food. Initially working closely with the refugee community and the squatting community to redistribute the rescued produce, Luana decided to start her own initiative: Taste Before You Waste! Starting with bike pick-ups, food waste dinners in the neighbourhood and markets on campus soon after, our community grew quickly.
Involvement of Sophia with Luana during 2016-17:
Luana & Sophia© TBYW Media collection
In 2016, Luana and her friend Sophia, becoming ever more involved, officially registered the organisation as a foundation and dedicated themselves full-time to the development of Taste Before You Waste.
For almost two years they worked love, sweat and tears together, always learning from each other and always taking on new challenges, such as developing an educational programme on food waste and teaching it to school kids or providing professional catering services.
Sophia & Luana ©TBYW Media Collections
Luana’s new position as Chair of TBYW’ Board from 2017 :
Luana left the Netherlands in 2017 to travel Asia in search of knowledge and experience in communal living, self-sufficiency, co-creation and permaculture with the aim of starting her own project in Portugal. In her new position as Chair of TBYW’s Board, Luana now advises the coordinators with her expertise and gets to enjoy how the organisation keeps on growing to new heights, while she is traveling.
Sophia’ current role as Co-founder and Former Coordinator:
Sophia Bensch (Co-founder, former Coordinator)
Sophia, for her part, dared to hold her position alone, ensuring continuity for all the activities, consisting of weekly wasteless dinners, markets, workshops, and occasional social caterings, lectures and school programmes. With such frequent activities and our belief in community, we were able to cultivate a space for sharing experiences, best practises, knowledge and world views on food, sustainability and environmental justice. We extended the invitation to engage with these topics to our guests by introducing a second weekly dinner with cultural programming.
Sophia in action towards food rescue ©TBYW Media Collection
Lara as the General Coordinator from 2019:
Lara Egbring (General Coordinator)
In search of a partner to eventually pass the torch to, Sophia found Lara, a particularly engaged and connected team member, who is ready to lead our community and stand up for the people and the environment. Since the beginning of 2019 she is officially coordinating TBYW and her fresh ideas are not waiting around.
Her belief in environmental activism steers TBYW in a direction in which empowerment of the people, one of the core values of the foundation, plays a central role in creating more awareness regarding food waste.
Lara (on the right) in action at the Food Market ©TBYW Media Collections
How the TBYW is growing under our sisterhood?
Seeing our community at our current location in Amsterdam is steadily growing we want to follow our mission of ‘Revolutionizing the food system one neighborhood at a time’ and spread out to help communities around the city to reach more positive environmental impact, while engaging the people in delicious neighborhood dinners. More specifically, we strive to help communities set up their own TBYW Wasteless Dinner with the aim of them taking over once they are ready. Through this, we hope to encourage citizens to take initiative in the strive towards a more environmentally conscious city. Our end goal is to reduce the food waste one neighborhood at a time, while building up a network of similar organisations and partners.
Sophia & Lara ©TBYW Media Collections
Now, in February 2019, Sophia is excited to go travelling for 2 months, meeting Luana in the Philippines. When she gets back, Sophia is eager to join Lara’s team and get cracking on a political strategy, advocating for social and environmental justice.
These three women, Luana, Sophia and Lara, have given rise, shape and direction to Taste Before You Waste over the years. We believe female leadership is vital for a more inclusive and sustainable future. We are sisters in the fight against a wasteful food system, sisters in the fight against capitalism, sisters in the fight against the patriarchy.
Click on the below video to find out how Taste Before You Waste is shaping under our sisterhood: