Maeve Whyte  -  Eat Your Sprouts! Tackling the food waste issue

John Oldacre Foundation

I started my career with the National Farmers Union, England and Wales in 2001. With a background in geography and environmental science I worked as the water policy adviser for a few years before moving to Brussels in 2006 to work at the British Agriculture Bureau, which represents all the UK farming unions.  Working with representatives from the European Commission, national governments and the European Parliament has given me an excellent opportunity to learn more about farming across the EU and about the politics and people that shape farming policy on the ground. During my time in Brussels I have worked on various issues including the EU budget, the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy and water legislation.

 I am from a small seaside town outside Dublin and try to get home as often as possible to visit family and friends. I enjoy keeping fit and socialising and love to travel with my husband John.

The debate on food waste has risen up the political agenda in the UK and across Europe over the past couple of years and policy makers and interest groups are now focusing attention on how to address this problem. Commentators come from all sectors of the food industry, from farmers to supermarkets, the agrochemicals industry to restaurants and needless to say views differ considerably on the extent of the problem and strategies to resolve it. Most people look upon the issue as an environmental problem, one which is exacerbated by the fact that diminishing resources necessary to produce food, are effectively squandered if the food waste issue is not properly addressed. However I am intrigued by the fact that food waste is also an economic, social and even ethical issue in some countries.

I hope to focus my research on those areas that I think are most relevant to the UK farming industry and look at how to develop better food waste policies, potential technological solutions and the impact that public facing food waste campaigns are having on farm. I would like to see what lessons can be learned from others and am hoping to travel to New Zealand, the US and India.

 My project is being sponsored by the John Oldacre Foundation and I hugely appreciate their support.