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Case Study: Just Eat It

At the University of Bristol the ‘Just Eat It’ group (no longer running) helped to raise awareness of food poverty, as we hear in this video.

At the University of Bristol, students are challenging perceptions of food waste. The ‘Just Eat It’ group helped to raise awareness of food poverty as a global challenge and showed how we can act to tackle it locally. The project began when undergraduate chemistry student Charlotte Rowan was inspired by another food waste charity FoodCycle (discussed in the next case study). She turned her inspiration into action in the Bristol area.

The Just Eat It student volunteers cultivated sustainable attitudes towards food and raised money for charity. They did this by hosting workshops and pop-up cafés, running campaigns and inviting interesting speakers on topics of food and consumption. On campus, they worked with staff to reduce waste. They also engaged beyond the University and into the local area.

Just Eat It rescued food from the Bristol area and saved it from being sent to landfill sites. This food was used to make meals at pop-up café events. Here, members of the public paid as much or as little as they liked for the meal. To make these events even more appealing, live entertainment and film screenings were often hosted at the same time. This student led project shows how a challenging issue can be addressed in a positive way. These students proved that it is possible to have fun while helping people and taking sustainability action.

The group also branched out to tackle other global issues. They worked with a local refugee charity, Aid Box Community, to support the local refugee population. These collaborative efforts were supported through Bristol Hub. The Hub helps to coordinate student volunteering, conferences, charity, communication and training for positive impacts.

We caught up with Rosy in Spring 2021, and she shared how her engagement with Just Eat It shaped her career and life after leaving Bristol University. She worked for several years as an environmental consultant focussing on waste and resources policy. Her projects included advising the European Commission on biodegradable plastic policies, and modelling the environmental impact of waste collections across Europe. “I’m now taking a break from consultancy and studying for an MSc in Sustainable Food!” she told us. “When I finish I’m hoping to stay researching food sustainability, either in academia or back in consultancy. Working on the Just Eat It project certainly influenced my path a lot, from focussing on waste to now studying a broader view of food sustainability.”

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