OLIO: Join the Food Sharing Revolution
Written by: Violet Myers
We’ve all done it.
After yet another squalid weekend of gastronomical filth, eye watering cholesterol and questionable lifestyle choices we decide to make amends with our bodies. We march ourselves down the fresh produce aisle and fill our basket with enough fruit and veg to kill an international PETA convention. Mountains of pears (which we’re really not keen on) a kilo of carrots (which we’re pretty sure we’re allergic to) and a family size pack of pineapples (not even Carmen Miranda needed six), only to find our untouched good intentions have started to resemble props from the Alien franchise within a week. With a heavy heart and our mother’s words ringing in our ears “there are starving children in Africa you know” we bin it.
Well, in the words of Michael Jackson, you are not alone. Food waste is a growing economic, environmental and social problem in the UK, with people reporting they feel physically pained when they are forced to discard food that was very recently edible.
“People hear a lot of stories right now in the press about the supermarkets, that food waste is their responsibility, but the reality is that all retail waste only equates to 2% of food waste. We need to take responsibility for what happens in our homes.” Explains Saasha, who is the joint founder of food sharing app OLIO. She and her business partner Tessa launched the app in July 2015 after being inspired a dilemma faced by Tessa when she relocated back to North London.
“The whole idea for it came when Tessa was moving house. She was living abroad and was moving back. She had some food that was going to be left in the flat and she had this huge dilemma about what to do with it. She ended up smuggling it back into the country because she didn’t want to leave it there. Which seems absurd, right? Obviously there would have been someone back in Switzerland who would have loved to have her food but she just didn’t know them. So we thought of this brilliant idea.”
The app is basically Craiglist’s for food, but with slightly less plums and much healthier bananas… Users can choose to list their spare food, in order to give it away to a peckish neighbour, or scour the listings and score some unwanted munch. Saasha, who lives in Crouch End with her family, tells me that the app has grown remarkably in the short time since it went live.
“We’ve had 35,000 downloads, 40% of which are in London. 5,000 items have been added in total and our average transaction rate is around 70%.”
But scrolling through the app I was dubious. There’s no denying that the idea is fantastic; I identified with the shame of sending perfectly good food to landfill and scoring a free snack really spoke to my inner cheapskate, but would it really work? Do people really care enough to travel up to 5km for a pack of sugar? Saasha met my cynicism with a challenge: go home, register and give it a go, she assured me it would work.
Still a little hesitant, I rooted around in my fruit bowl and finding a couple of bananas, that were supposed to star in a banana bread that never happened, a slightly sad lime and a mysterious danish pastry, I assembled a still-life worthy of Cézanne, took a photo and sent it off into the OLIO universe. Within half an hour Frank was at my door. We shook hands he took my bag and with that he cycled off into the distance, plenty of fruit based fun ahead of him. The system worked.
I was wonderfully surprised at how well the app worked. It was simple, well designed and even pretty exciting (I assume it’s a bit like using Grindr for food enthusiasts). It’s sure to go from strength to strength as the word spreads, so believe the hype and join the food revolution. I’m now a fully fledged convert.
Photos: Mike Barry
Download OLIO today via the App Store and follow them on Twitter.
When danger reared its ugly head, Brave Sir Robin turned and fled… to his namesake pub on Crouch Hill for a craft beer and a top-notch meal from kitchen residency Cue Point. Warm globes of light hang above intimate booths, specially commissioned wall design offers a rich backdrop, and cosy sofas, deep armchairs and plentiful cushioned stools ensure no one is without a seat.
Flocking to Holloway Road on one of the many Sundays that we’ve spent at the Nag’s Head Car Boot Sale, we spotted a new Vietnamese place called Pho Hot getting ready to open up their doors. Being the nosy folks we are, we peeked inside and spotted a menu. Banh Mi was on it. It's a baguette, but not as you know it. Glory of all glories! It’s been far too long since I last consumed this distinctive sarnie and I'm happy as Larry that there's a new Banh Mi joint on my doorstep.
Baby, it’s getting cold outside, and what better way to aide our frostbitten noses than a chat to a professional skin person? We’re talking to Lee Garrett, founder of The Garrett Clinic, accomplished skincare specialist and heralded by many as the UK’s leading Skin Guru. Read on to find out his insider tips for surviving this winter season with your skin looking as radiant as the moon that breaks a stormy night.
Joined by over 50 other artists incorporating printmaking, painting, digital art, photography and small-scale sculpture, Tomorrow’s World presents us with utopias, dystopias, predictions, prophecies and visions of the future. We hit up the private view last Friday and it was pretty damn bleak, in the best sense of the word.
Carouse founders Chris, Theo and Ben – the charming folk behind Kentish Town’s Rose and Crown – have a new venture afoot and we couldn’t be more bloody excited to see it. We’ve been creeping in their windows, peering through the paint and sneaking glimpses at builders’ bums for a few months now (okay, maybe not the last one), watching these guys transform this cosy corner of Crouch Hill into a rather cool little boozer. Now they’re opening and everyone is invited. Come one, come all, and try all 20 of their beers on tap with us.
Last month I decided to try clubbing again. I don’t quite know what came over me, but I actually (brace yourselves) enjoyed it. I went to Body Hammer’s monthly party in Manor House and I’m here to tell you to go too, whether you love clubbing, hate clubbing, or really couldn’t care either way. #notspon
Rich, fried, buttery, potato-y vessels loaded with flavor combinations that go down rather well with craft beer, late nights and good times. Ha, who am I kidding, EVERYTHING goes down well with beer. You heard that right buddy, loaded potato skins are back with a bang (and a generous portion of bacon) and are currently being served at Old Street's The Magic Roundabout by street food pop-up Skins and we could not be any happier. Well, unless they were to stuff it with, say, Mac and Cheese or risotto. Oh, that's exactly what they do? Well paint me green and call me a cucumber.
Magical gifts, wonderful gifts, marvellous gifts, beautiful gifts, gifts, glorious gifts glo-ri-ous giiiiiifts. Please Sir, I want some more. It’s that time of year again and whether you love it or loathe it gifts will be purchased and presented into expectant hands. Stroud Green's very own Pretty Shiny Shop have compiled a gift guide to help ease the shopping shock. Imagine only having to trot to your local gift shop and tick off your entire shopping list in one fell swoop. Done, finito, terminado! To make it that little sweeter, it's also all very affordable... so you won't even have to pick a pocket or two.
Alright guys, it’s happening. The frosty charm of December is, once again, being beaten to a pulp by the capitalists’ wet dream: Christmas. The hideous twinkling of artificial outdoor lighting is starting to appear, with tourists flocking from far and wide to watch D-list celebrities press a button. Invitations to Christmas parties flood in from your multiple part-time jobs, ensuring you make bad decisions bi-weekly til next year. Supermarkets are selling 12-day advent calendars containing confetti, cookie cutters and candles for a flawless £50. And oh, how the mulled wine flows.
Who doesn’t love a cheeky statistic, correctly sourced? You know we do. Well, did you know that for every £1 spent with a small business, 63p is re-spent in the local area, as opposed to a measly 40p in every £1 re-spent locally with larger businesses? An absolute travesty, am I right? That 23p has to mean something, right, guys?! Guys? Guys, where are you going? Wait, there’s freebies involved too!
By gum there are a lot of winter markets this year. Fueled by sickly sweet mulled wine and overpriced pulled pork sliders, we’ve managed to wade our way through the murky waters of winter markets and find some decent looking ones round this here part of town. Don’t let our Grinch-esq vibes put you off (I’m more of a Pancake Day person myself) because, if you’re into markets, you’ll probably like these. Read on, if you’re merrier than us.
Take a short walk along Finsbury Park’s own sunset strip and you’ll find MoseyHome, an interiors retailer and styling consultancy who have invited us to collaborate with them on an exciting new series titled 'Style My Shop', in which they invite some of London's most talented interiors experts to quite literally style their shop. Interiors porn at it's finest.
Why was the snowman sad? Because he had a meltdown. Much like us, every year, when winter comes. It’s cold, it’s dark, and we know Christmas is on its way. But hey, it’s not all bad – the events round this time of year can be pretty swell. So don your scarf-shawl-blanket and get your frolic on, it’s time for fairy lights, scarfing mulled wine and stuffing your face!
Touch, taste, smell, hear and create art. Smith & Sinclair, purveyors of the Edible Cocktail, presents The Flavour Gallery: a multi-sensory adventure that’ll seduce your senses and tickle your taste buds beyond all imagination. Ooh matron!