Can you please introduce yourself and your business…
My name is Tolga. I am running a natural food store business called ‘The Harvest’. We are selling organic grocery, fruits and vegs, dairy, eggs, handmade breads, dried fruits and nuts, dairy free, gluten free and vegan products, and ecological households products and cosmetics.

You have a ‘zero food waste’ policy – what motivated you to put this in place?
Everyday tonnes of food are wasting before we give them a chance to be consumed. On the other hand, many people, who need food for surviving, cannot reach them. In daily basis, the world is producing the amount of food which is enough for 10billion people, as we are 7billion on the planet. But there is still poverty in the planet, and many people still can die because of the lack of food for them. We can reduce this poverty by sharing and by preventing the over production.

Can you explain what having this policy means in practical terms – what measures have you put in place to generate zero food waste?
By this policy, firstly, we purchase in small amounts from our suppliers in daily basis. However this type of purchasing is hard for stock management, and a bit increase the costs, it is the most important thing to reduce the food wasting. Despite this concern, we still have some surplus foods, especially fruits and vegs, because of the weather conditions, and/or unseasonal foods. We are sharing them with our customers and neighbourhood directly or through OLIO.

One of the organisations you use to reduce the amount of edible food you dispose of is Olio – why did you decide to connect with them?
When I first met with OLIO through a leaflet, I thought that this is a good idea to contact more people to share surplus foods. After that, I met with Saasha, Jane and Tessa, who are doing a great job to prevent food wasting. So The Harvest has been together with OLIO, since the first met, and try to introduce more people with OLIO.

What are the major causes of food going to waste in your store?
Generally the weather conditions, and tend to consumption of unseasonable fruits and vegs.

What do you think we as consumers can do to reduce the amount of food we cause as a result of our shopping habits?
I suggest consumers to buy in small amounts in daily basis, and eat in season.

What advice would you give to other shop owners who might want to reduce the amount of edible food going to waste?
I advise them to purchase in small amounts and in daily basis. And don’t be afraid to share surplus foods with their customers, despite the people can think the business sell well. Generally, the shop owners tend to buy in big quantities because of reducing the cost and easily manage their stocks, but at the end of the day this kind of purchasing costs more for them.

What do you think needs to be done at a policy level?
Everyone can do something for reducing food wasting, but the most needs to be done by government or some organisations. For example, this year in France, it is banned for supermarkets to waste foods, fruits and vegs.

Where can people find you shop?
The Harvest is at 69 Tottenham Lane, N8 9BE. At the middle area of Crouch End and Hornsey, near opposite the Hornsey Police Station. We welcome people to introduce our local natural food store.

Chris King
I'm a documentary and portrait photographer and multimedia producer from Northern Ireland, but currently based in London. With the Food Is... website and my exploration of the issue of avoidable food waste, I have a desire to create positive change in whatever way I can, and to whatever degree I can. You can see more of my work at chriskingphotography.com