Padmanaban Gopalan – No Food Waste
“One day a gaunt elderly lady, emaciated to the bones in a torn saree, approached me for alms, just as I left a wedding reception hall where food was carelessly discarded on used plates simply because the guests could not finish,” explains Padmanaban Gopalan, a young activist in India. “I couldn’t stand by and watch anymore. I had to do something about it.” In India, over 214 million citizens struggle with chronic food insecurity, despite an abundance of unused, uneaten food being thrown away at universities, weddings and banquets.
Padmanaban decided to create a solution. He founded No Food Waste in Coimbatore, India to redirect untouched excess wasted food to local hungry citizens, rather than seeing it go in the trash. Padmanaban’s team runs a volunteer-staffed hotline for wedding, banquet, and school organizers who wish to donate their excess food to the hungry in Coimbatore. To date, volunteers have donated approximately 5100 excess meals to hungry families and individuals.
Now Padmanaban plans to scale operations to 5 nearby cities with the aim of feeding more than 5000 hungry people every month. He is also in the process of writing a book on the organization’s philosophies and best practices, as well as creating a No Food Waste App capable of locating interested donators and people in need. He also visits schools to conduct No Food Waste audits and spread awareness and has already helped over 60 local schools to reduce their food waste. Padmanaban’s mission is simple: “Feed People, Not Landfills.”
Padmanaban’s grant was given as part of our Youth Environmental Grantmaking partnership with Levi Strauss & Co.
GRANT AWARD DATE: July 25, 2015