Interview: Agon from Project Nightfall
Did you notice a pretty epic video on food waste that popped up this summer? If you aren’t one of the 28 million people to view the shocking video by Agon, AKA Project Nightfall, you can check it out here. We caught up with Agon to hear more about his Food Waste Revolution.
So Agon, what inspired you to make your awesome video about food waste?
My inspiration for the video came from three years of working in the food industry. As a manager, I had to throw away a lot of food with my own hands. I realised that now I can reach people through sharing the story of my experience and teach as many people as possible about food waste.
It’s had 28 million views now! How does it feel to see such a huge reaction?
It feels awesome! This huge reaction is absolutely unexpected! I had no idea that a video about food waste would resonate with so many people.
What has been the most interesting reaction to your video?
The most interesting reactions are the ones coming from representatives of big stores in the UK explaining how they’re working to address the food waste issue. I even received an apology from a huge company and that made me feel like the video had even more of an impact than I initially thought it would.
We know that you’re travelling the world right now. How does food waste compare between countries?
Unfortunately, most countries waste a lot of food. However, out of the countries I’ve visited, Papua New Guinea didn’t seem to waste as much food. In Papua New Guinea, people live so close to the earth and in harmony with nature, so the majority of them weren’t caught up in a culture of consumption.
On the other hand, as we all know, places like US or UK celebrate mass consumerism which leads to waste. People are more and more aware of it though, so that gives me hope for the future.
What’s the most shocking food waste fact you’ve discovered on your mission to educate?
The most shocking fact I found is that we’re heading toward wasting more food than we eat! Right now around 40% of all food produced in the US never actually gets eaten. Considering that this amount grows every year - and this happens on an international level - we’ll be in big trouble if we don’t change our ways.
How do you think we can encourage people to waste less at home?
Awareness! I really believe that my video influenced some people to rethink their food purchases and how they throw away food. I think the majority of people have an instinct, a "bad feeling”, when they throw away food. We just have to remember that feeling and remind ourselves that it's bad to waste.
What do you think we could do to encourage the government to change laws surrounding food waste?
I'm not a politician, but I think advocacy and talking about it is definitely the first step.
Which food breaks your heart the most to see wasted?
Any food honestly! For some reason, coming from my house, I hate seeing bread go to waste. Also, as I travel the world and go to some third world countries, even water waste makes me cringe. I keep on reminding myself how lucky I am to have this life and live in comfort.
What are the best examples of tackling food waste you’ve seen?
I haven't seen many food waste solutions in my life. Quite the opposite. But I had a great experience in Singapore where I became friends with an awesome group of freegans - people who are very passionate about reducing waste. They try to never buy anything ever, including food. They collect wasted food from markets and restaurants and make meals out of them. They even dumpster dive to find clothes, electronics, and other goods. It’s an extreme solution, but it was an eye-opening experience to see how much we all throw away and how some people REALLY care.
How would you encourage more stores to join apps like Too Good To Go as an easy solution to their food waste?
We need to call them out! Literally, go to the store manager and ask about their level of food waste. Chances are it's HIGH! So why wouldn't they want to join such a great initiative? Run an Internet campaign getting people to tag stores on Facebook. The internet can be very powerful!
And finally, what’s your personal top tip for fighting food waste?
I’m going to preface my big tip with this metaphor, using the music industry as an example. Radio stations, labels and TV channels decide what people listen to, if they push EDM to people one year, people will see EDM as “popular music”. If they push pop, people will listen to pop. You get the message.
If we say supermarkets and big food stores are like those labels and stations, they also can greatly influence people's behaviour. The need to create and sell smaller portions of food to avoid waste. They need to put more effort into food waste campaigns. If they simply try harder to control it on an internal level, society will move to drastically reduce its waste.