Boroume: The Ultimate Recycling Model Combating Malnutrition in Greece

Boroume (“We Can”) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to reduce food waste and to fight malnutrition in Greece by directly linking all kinds of food donors and food donations to local charities.

Since 2012, under the leadership of Alex Theodoridis, Boroume has saved & offered more than 28 million portions of food to hundreds of welfare organisations and charities all over Greece. And today, it saves & offers the equivalent of more than 25,000 portions of food on a daily basis from every stage of the food chain.

But, it doesn't stop there.  There's a second pillar of action creating awareness of food waste in Greece.  They organise events, campaigns and, most importantly, an educational program through which over 15,000 children have learned how important it is to reduce food waste and support those in need.

The importance of the issue of food waste is showcased by the fact that 30% of the global food production goes to waste, while 890 million people are undernourished.   If food waste were a country, it would be the world's third worst polluter (after China and the USA).

Boroume has exemplified how easy it is to save food and offer it to those in need by disrupting the "classical" food saving model of food banks. Without any logistics and time delays, they directly link food donors with the recipient, close-by charities while coordinating the donation pick-up by the charity itself.

Having saved & offered more than 28 million portions of food in the past 7 years, it's clear that, if it is easy to save food, a donor will do it every time he has something to give!

What Was The Inspiration To Start Boroume?

The starting inspiration was two-fold:

  1. seeing that all the kinds of food was  not being saved by the "classical" food saving model of a food bank and
  2. the fact that Greece, in 201,1 was witnessing its worst economic crisis in living memory resulting to an ever greater number of people seeking food assistance.

Realising that logistics create the bulk of costs for the "classical" food saving model and that a donor is almost always very close to a charity, it was clear that, by connecting these two directly, it made it as easy as possible for everyone involved to save and offer food.

Boroume in the kitchen

What's Been Achieved So Far?

A very flexible food saving model that makes it as easy as possible to save and offer food. This has resulted in more than 28 million saved and offered portions of food in 7 years, from over 2,000 companies and even more individual donors to over 600 charities from every part of Greece.

Boroume is also at the forefront of creating awareness about the issue of food waste by organising festivals, specialised events, campaigns and, most important of all, by creating an educational program through which over 15,000 children have learned the significance of reducing food waste and helping those in need.

The efficiency of this model is exemplified by the fact that, at Boroume, every 1 euro of operational cost is translated to over 40 portions of food being saved and offered.

We Asked Alex "What do you wish you'd known at the beginning?"

There was a moment, in the beginning, when people were calling us to donate all sorts of things besides food so we needed to draw a line and focus on our goal to reduce food waste and food insecurity.  We have learned from this experience that it is very important, for your identity and your development, to focus on what is essential and to stay true to your goals.

We are inspired to keep going by the love and support received from so many people and from so many places.

What's The One Piece Of Advice You'd Give An Aspiring Change Maker

Realise what is truly bothering you, then analyse the why? and the how? Find the right allies (friends) and never take "no" for an answer as long as you know in your heart that what you're doing is good.

How People Can Get Involved In Boroume Or Help Out?

We say, very often from our past experience of so many people helping us in so many ways, that there is truly no limit to the ways one can support our cause, as long as he is wishing to so. No matter where he lives, what language he speaks, there is always a way.

From supporting us financially to volunteering in food saving actions, there are numerous ways of supporting food saving and offering actions!

What Are Boroume's Plans For The Future?

We dream of creating a national alliance against food waste. bringing all the important national stakeholders together at the same table and creating a national voluntary pact which will commit everyone to finding ways to reduce waste in their sector.

Alexander is one of the co-founders of Boroume (”We Can”), a leading food saving organization of Greece. A former advisor to the Prime Minister in Greece, Alex has devoted his life into disrupting the “classical” food saving model by directly linking all kind of food donors -and all kinds of food- with local charities in […]
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