By Lauren Quinn Badell
At SXSW 2016, Food + City is pairing up with Bruce Shaw and Adam Salomone, foodtech innovators, for the fourth annual Food & Tech Mixer at El Naranjo. The event is designed to bring together food entrepreneurs, investors, technologists, enthusiasts and more for networking and connection. This year we are adding our own spin: mapping the ingredients in one of the appetizers all the way back to their respective sources, provoking perspective on just how much happens behind the scenes before food ends up on our plates.
The last food mile is the only part of the food supply chain that consumers see. It's not an exact 5,280 feet, but rather a logistics term referring to the physical distribution of food in an urban environment. It’s also the most complicated, expensive, and wasteful portion of the food supply chain. It unrolls under our noses all the time: the produce truck that blocks a lane of traffic early in the morning to the guy delivering milk to your favorite coffee shop. We rarely take a moment to look up and notice these quotidian activities, let alone consider the timing, effort, and logistical dance that it takes for our food to reach us.
This year at SXSW, we are asking you to take a closer look. Consider the trajectory of the food that you eat and document when you see the last food mile in action. Annually, between 25 and 50 percent of all food produced is wasted—more than 1 billion tons! This number seems all the more staggering when we consider that close to an equal amount of people are hungry. How is it that we are producing enough food to feed every person on the planet, yet hunger still exists? Help bring awareness to this issue by photographing the last food mile in action. Post it on Instagram, and tag @foodcityorg and @elnaranjoaustin with the hashtags #lastfoodmile and #feedingSXSW. Submissions will be accepted until March 18th at midnight. One lucky winner will be chosen on March 20th and receive a $75.00 gift card to El Naranjo, a Food+City tee and a Food+City magazine. Join us in this visual conversation and at our Food+Tech event on March 11th.