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Published: Friday 30 August, 2013

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BERLIN Reuters Just past midnight behind a Berlin supermarket, two youngsters with torches strapped to their woollen hats sift through rubbish bins for food that is still edible, load their bikes with bread, vegetables and chocolate Santas and cycle off into the darkness. Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates at onethird of all food produced worldwide, every year, valued at about trillion.

In environmentally aware, costconscious Germany, foodsharing is the latest fad, using the Internet to share food recovered from supermarket bins while it is still in good condition.

Dumpsterdiving for societys castoffs is a fastgrowing phenomenon among subcultures in Europe and the United States and freegans vegans who do not believe in paying for food have long been sifting through supermarket wheelie bins.

But the foodsharing movement that has sprung up in cities like Cologne and Berlin brings efficiency and technical skills to the table in ways that make it uniquely German.

The website which has an appropriately recycledpaper look advises people where there are baskets and wholesale designer handbags what is in them: organic sausages in Cologne or spaghetti and Darjeeling tea in Chemnitz. Members can log in or use a Smartphone app to see the address of nearby baskets or a pickup time and place. They can then rate the transaction like ordinary online retailers.

For people who cannot afford the Internet, Fellmer has set up the first of what he hopes will be many hot spots where food can be picked up anonymously: a fridge at a covered market in Berlins Kreuzberg, where anyone can help themselves to food.

Ive come for some bread rolls, just a couple, said Frank, an unemployed 47yearold, who was alerted to the location of a hoard of fresh bread on the website and called at Fellmers house. the previous evening.

Throwing away food is a rich country phenomenon but a poor countrys problem.

Camelia Bucatariu, a policy expert on food waste at the FAO in Rome, said North American and European consumers waste 95115 kg of food per capita a year, compared to just 611 kg in subSaharan Africa and southeast Asia. As economies develop, the level of food waste grows, said Bucatariu, who is Romanian.

The foodsharers argument that the tonnes of food wasted in Germany could feed people in poor countries is not as simplistic as it sounds: less waste means less drain on resources in the producer countries and less upward pressure on prices, she said.

It is not only wasting an apple, but wasting the resources embedded in that apple which may be produced outside o wholesale designer handbags f Europe, Bucatariu told Reuters. As well as economic damage there is the cost to the environment of using energy to grow food that ends up in a landfill site, emitting greenhouse gases like methane.

The FAO is studying how to change such behaviour and whether changes are needed to legislation on the retailers date marks differentiating Best By from Use By the latter being the date when food may start to become a biological hazard.

Fellmer is on a threeyearold money strike: he does not earn or spend a euro and he, his wife and child eat only food that has been rescued from the bins.

A rangy 29yearold in a baggy blue jumper with spiky blond hair and a pointed beard, he is already something of a German media phenomenon. On a recent visit, a TV documentary crew and a reporter from a local daily were crowded into his oneroom flat.

He plonks on the table a packet of ginger biscuits for Christmas from a batch of hundreds fished out of bins nearby bearing a use by date which is still a month away. They taste fine, as do some red and goldwrapped chocolate Santas.

The use by dates infuriate the foodsharers, many of whom were first inspired by the 2011 film Taste the Waste by their guru Valentin Thurm.

It documents waste rangin wholesale designer handbags g from farmers discarding tomatoes that are not red enough to bakeries burning the excess bread they made to keep the shelves looking full until closing time.

Fellmers friend Schmitt was brought up in a very foodconscious vegetarian household. His mother is a food chemist who advises him on hygienic ways to eat and share food from plastic sacks that he admits are sometimes mushy under your fingers in the dark.

Like Fellmer, he lives not in east Berlin, with its history of squats and communes, but in the leafy western suburb of Dahlem where he bindives under the noses of the German capitals most affluent residents.

Foodsharing appeals to the hipster culture of Berlin with its tradition of antiestablishment protest, Schmitt said.

The German crowdsourcing techniques could turn out to be best practice for reducing waste in other countries too, said the FAOs Bucatariu.

Solutions may vary according to the culture, the context and to what access to food there is, she said. But each and every one of us can do something. wholesale designer handbags