(Photo: Lea Hartmeyer)
Lea Hartmeyer: “We’re always looking for new enthusiastic people to join us.” (Photo: Lea Hartmeyer)

Through Food Sharing Delft, Lea Hartmeyer is part of a growing community trying to do something about the problem of food waste.

“This is my fourth year at TU Delft. I did my bachelor’s here and now I’m doing a master’s in Landscape Architecture. I’m in my first year so I’m still exploring, but after the summer I have the daunting task of choosing a graduation studio.

A few years ago, a friend and I wanted to do something for GreenTU, something with sustainability. There was this idea to do something with food and at that time, foodsharing Germany was already a really big organisation so we got inspired by what they were doing. We started Food Sharing Delft really slow and small and since then we have managed to grow into a group of about 90 members. We collect food each week from local grocery stores that they can no longer sell and would otherwise go to waste.

The first event we did was in the spring of 2018. Then we started hosting monthly dinner events the following year where we would cook using the food we collected. We had our first COVID-friendly event two weeks ago which was a cooking competition over Zoom with five teams. We prepared some boxes of food that we had collected and handed them out to the teams, of course keeping our distance. It went really well and it was a good time.

‘We can continue despite COVID’

We still collect food from local grocery stores weekly and started thinking about a way to do something more. Taking an idea from foodsharing Germany, we now have a community fridge where we are able to share food every week. That means we can continue despite COVID. We got really lucky by connecting with I CHANGE (in Dutch), which is a sustainable initiative in Delft. They had a space to host the fridge and then we had a very generous donor who gave us a fridge. If you have something that you won’t eat in the house and it’s still good and unopened, you can also bring it there for others to use. But the biggest stock comes from the weekly pickups that we do.

It’s located at I CHANGE, which is near the Delft train station. It’s available 24/7, and it’s truly open to anyone anytime. We even have elderly people or other people from the neighbourhood coming in. We’re very happy about this because at the beginning we were mostly focussed on students, but it grew naturally to reach other people in the community.

Anybody can contact us if they want to join, just visit our website. Our main community is still students and there’s a lot of rotation with people graduating and coming and going. We’re always looking for new enthusiastic people to join us.”

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Also read: Humans of TU Delft: Megan Atkins