ATHENS – Not far removed from a near decade-long economic and austerity crisis that saw people pillaging through rubbish bins for food, Greeks are among the biggest food wasters in the European Union, but a group is working to collect unsold fruit and vegetables to distribute to the needy.
The non-governmental organization (NGO) Bouroume – Greek for “We Can” said it wants to reduce the amount of food tossed out and gets the goods from producers and traders.
It has been operating since 2011, when the austerity crisis was in its early stages and hurting workers, pensioners and the poor the most, with almost no government programs to help or feed the most vulnerable.
The NGO has distributed more than 50 million portions of food from thousands of donors to more than 600 charities all over Greece, while over 500 tons of uneaten fruit and vegetables have been saved since 2015, when it started its cooperation with three farmers’ markets in Athens, said Kathimerini.
“There are indications from research in our country that we are among the most wasteful in Europe,” said Boroume head Anna Kampouropoulou.
Each Greek wastes an average of 142 kilos (313 pounds) of food per year, it is estimated, the report said, adding that only 36 percent of households say they do toss out any food while 12.4 percent of the country’s population are faced with food insecurity. That amounts to some 1.34 million people in all regions.