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Food festivals: are they doing more harm than good?

Is there really fun in wasting food?

30 Aug 2016
food festivals, food wastage, La Tamatina, spain,

Every year thousands of participants make their way to join food festivals that involve ‘playing’ with edible food, mostly in the form of a food fight. This just feels totally wasteful.

On 31 August, an estimated 45 000 people will fill up the Spanish streets for the popular (and messy!) tomato fight, aka La Tamatina festival.

According to World Hunger Food Programme, an estimated 795 million from the world’s population is currently suffering from starvation. With numbers on the increase – despite organizations across the world trying to offer their aid, people involved in these festivals seem unaware of the gravity of their actions.

READ: Michelin star chef transforms wasted Olympics food for Rio's homeless

Imagine if La Tamatina festival took the 200 tons of tomatoes, produced  and manufactured into pulp, and donated them to a country in need. It makes quite a change from the wasted tomato pulp being washed off the streets. Obviously Spain has an excess of tomatoes, however this is not the case for other regions and perhaps there should be regulations enforced to make sure that food is passed on and not wasted. It would make a heartwarming difference.

Many complaints have arisen from these festivals. For instance, The News Nigeria reported that Nigerians are suffering a decrease in tomato crops. Alas, the festival is still taking place tomorrow.

Other festivals that waste food on a big level:

1. The Battle of Oranges - They could be donated to poorer countries where food resources are scarce

2. Els Enfarinats - Can you imagine how many loaves could be baked and donated?

3. Cooper Hill Cheese Rolling

4. Songkran - It might just be water, but some countries are still facing drought.

- Mandy Blankenberg


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