Hong Kong has the highest density of restaurants in the world. There is one restaurant for every 300 people. But it imports most of the food, which leads to problems that should not be underestimated. Hong Kong is an import city. It does not have a large industrial sector, does not grow a lot of vegetables and relies heavily on foreign markets. Especially in regards to the food system, this is a big problem in manifold ecologic ways. But this was not always the case. 60 years ago, Hong Kong grew 60% of all its vegetables, these days the figure is at 1,2%.
In current times, this import ethos leads to an oversaturated food market that provides way too much unused food. As a scaling image: 250 doubledecker busses full of food are thrown away each day and sent to the three landfills Hong Kong has. The thing is: 2018 these landfills are going to be saturated and no one really knows what to do afterwards, there is no masterplan.
Dr. Daisy Tam provides new solutions in her talk “Eating together.” The first thing is, to not talk about “food waste” anymore (because, really, there is no such thing as waste), but consider the food as “food without purpose”. The task is, to repurpose the food by considering a “parasite-approach”. This is by no means a negative connotation, but a reference to the origins of the word.
Para/Sitos: “Being that eats alongside.”
By trying to reframe the understanding of “unused food”, she pledges for sharing, caring, providing those in need and, en passant, helping the ecology.
“To care for is to look out for and look after those who cannot do so for themselves, and is related to the promotion of personal health and welfare.” (Yeates, 2004)
Lecture by Dr. Daisy Tam
Dr. Tam received her Ph.D. in Cultural Studies from Goldsmiths, University of London. Her research interests include ethical food practices, food waste, food and urbanism, critical food studies, everyday life studies, migrant workers, ethnography, critical theory, cultural and media theory. Her current research on food waste and the city is a theoretical and technological project that explores the potential of collective food rescue practice.