With 795 million people living in a state of food insecurity and greenhouse gasses relentlessly on the rise, I don’t think I’m going out on a limb here by saying that food surplus waste is one of the world’s dumbest problems. Annually in Canada alone, 31 billion dollars worth of food finds its way into the trash. When the numbers and stakes are so high, solutions don’t often come easily, which is why when I heard of Boof Bandit, a new smartphone application that connects people to surplus food, I knew I had to learn more.
The brainchild of Montreal photographer Nasuna Stuart-Ulin, Boof Bandit will use geolocation and time sensitive listings much like Uber, connecting donors with people in their community who would like to receive it. Here’s a little rundown of how it works: say you’re a bakery owner, rather than throwing out your extras at the end of the day, you send out a notification using Boof Bandit, entering what you have for donation. The app’s map will then drop a pin at your desired location and send out a notification to all the users seeking food in your area. As soon as someone claims the goods via the app, the listing will disappear and you and the user can take it from there.
It’s designed to be simple, fast, free and I think it even sounds fun. Now if you’re wondering about the legalities – users will be required to sign off on a waver, limiting the donor’s liability.
Stuart-Ulin’s vision was born out of her experience working in the photography and film industry where events are often bountifully catered. After participating at one-such event featuring Quebec’s treasured Celine Dion who was raising awareness about child starvation, Stuart-Ulin looked over at the refreshment table and saw a great irony: salmon filets, full quiches and fresh salads were all sitting barely touched and looked to be headed for the trash. If only there was a way she could have called people to come pick up this seemingly doomed food!
Well now there is a way.
We’ve already seen how ‘smartphone technology’ has revamped industries like hospitality, transportation, even sex (I’m looking at you Tinder users). Stuart-Ulin asks, why not food? She aptly comments, “Boof Bandit is the missing link”.
The project is in its incubation phase, so we’ll have to wait a little longer before we start Boof Banditing- but by the end of the summer Stuart-Ulin is hoping to have a beta-version out for testing. Stuart-Ulin is also hoping to collaborate with other people who have skills and vision that would be useful to having Boof Bandit launched. On her dream list: a female developer who is passionate about solving this issue. So if you’re her, get in touch. She is also seeking funding, so keep talking about this project and if you happen to be a philanthropist looking to invest in a potentially revolutionary idea please contact Nasuna Stuart-Ulin at email@example.com or through her landing page: www.boofbandit.com.