Below are our online partnerships and collaborators who are helping us promote local, seasonal, and sustainable eating.
Topo is a veg box delivery company based in Cardiff, Wales. Topo was the first food delivery service to adopt our traffic light labelling system. They are on a mission, just as we are, to support independent producers and encourage local and seasonal shopping. If you would like to find out more about Topo, please head to their website.
Like Seasonarians, Floop is on a mission to make choosing sustainable food easy. To help everyone understand how the food they eat impacts the world around them, Floop is building a mobile meal planner app that tracks the carbon footprint of food. Once developed and released to the public, people will be able to easily track and learn how to reduce their carbon footprint through their diet. To find out more about Floop, please head to their website.
Our interview with Floop founder, Kayleigh Goodman
How did the idea of Floop come about, and why did you choose that name?
Similar to you with Seasonarians, it was a lockdown idea and conversation about where our food comes from. I’m from South Lincolnshire, which is quite an important area of the country for growing produce and vegetables. And literally on the road that I lived on, there’re lots of farms growing veg and produce to be distributed all around the country. So, I was noticing these things and thinking: I don’t actually know a lot about how this food is grown and how it impacts the world around me and its carbon footprint. Then I had the idea of “what if we could track the carbon footprint of food, like we would track something like calories or macronutrients like protein, fat, and carbs?” And it just kind of evolved really. We started referring to it as a feedback loop… then more of a foodback loop… which eventually got shortened to Floop. And that’s how we came up with the name for our app.
Where do you start with the maths side of things for tracking?
So, this is the question! I came up with this idea for Floop… but although I’m very passionate about the environment and always wanting to find ways to be more sustainable, you know, I’m not a sustainability expert. But luckily, one of my close friends that I grew up with, Blaze, has gone into that area of work. So I ended up chatting to her about this idea and saying is it something that exists yet? Is it possible to do? And she didn’t think there was anything like it but felt it was possible. Then we started exploring a scientific methodology called Life Cycle Assessments. It’s used for lots of different things, but we focus on the greenhouse gases that come from food. You take an ingredient, so let’s say a carrot. Then you look at how much energy is used to grow the carrot in the field, with things like irrigation, tractors going up and down, etc. Then you look at gases from when the carrot’s being processed: so you take it from the field to be processed and then packaged and then transported. It’s called a cradle-to-grave method.
There are lots of different factors that can influence the carbon footprint of an ingredient. And obviously it differs from farm-to-farm. So, you know, we’re never going to have a 100% accurate data for your specific ingredient, because there are going to be so many little variations. But overall, we know that the carbon footprint of a carrot, and the energy that’s required to grow a carrot, is significantly less than rearing a chicken, for example. It gives you a good idea to say: “Okay, if I cut out or reduce some of these things in my diet, overall I’m going to have a smaller carbon footprint than I if I eat more of these things.”
So Life Cycle Assessments is what we use and we’ve ended up partnering with an organisation who’ve already done a lot of research into life cycle assessments and collating them into a big database. Then we bring that into the app experience and show the data in real-life terms. So we compare the carbon footprint of a carrot, for example, to the emissions from boiling a kettle or driving x amount of miles in your car. Something that you can relate to in day-to-day life, rather than just being a number.
What’s your vision for Floop?
Overall we want to see a sustainable future, particularly when it comes to having access to food. We know that climate change and food are really, really closely linked and what we eat now has a massive impact on the climate in the future. There are a bunch of different studies, but generally, they’re coming out to say around a third of all greenhouse gases made by humans are from our food systems – so that’s different factors of our food systems from growing to transporting, packaging, processing food. We’re doing all of that on such a huge, industrialised scale now that it’s really impacting the climate.
But as the climate changes and we’re producing more greenhouse gases, which create global warming, that then leads to more extreme weather events like the droughts and floods we’ve seen in the last year. And this leads to even more food insecurity. So, with Floop, we’re taking control of our day-to-day actions now and the choices that we have for food. And we’re hoping that we can create a global shift and change in consumer demand to create a more sustainable food system. Basically, so that we have food in the future, and we also have a planet in the future!
We really want to empower people with that knowledge in their own hands, to be able to make those choices so that they can not only reduce their personal carbon footprint but be part of that wider picture of taking those small steps together. Changing food is something you can do every single day. You don’t have to buy a particular thing that makes you do it; you can just tweak some ingredients that you already have to go to the supermarket for. It’s a massive opportunity through food to halt climate change. And that’s our vision for Floop really: to reduce the consequences of climate change.
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
Aside from finding the right data, I suppose something I’ve been thinking about a lot this week is: every business or organisation has a lot of challenges. It’s an inevitable part of every organisation, isn’t it? Anywhere you go, they never have enough money to do what they want, and they could always do with more people or time. So, although those are things we all face, it’s an opportunity to get creative with how you do things.
The other big challenge that we’ve had is around the actual development of the app. We worked with a developer to get the foundations in, and then we had to just learn how to do the rest of it because we haven’t had lots of money to be able to pay someone to do that. So we’ve had to learn how to code the app, and Jim has taken on a huge role to make it come to life from the original designs that I made.
But what’s motivated us to keep doing that is that overall mission of looking after our climate and having secure access to food. So that’s how we’ve managed the challenges really: by having a really clear mission about what we want to do. I come back to that a lot because it helps to drive us forward. I guess it’s the same for you at Seasonarians. There’s a lot of stuff that you need to do, lots of conversations to have; you have other priorities in your life. But you obviously want to impact the world and are passionate about where our food comes from and how it basically affects people.
How do you think Seasonarians and Floop can come together to support each other?
Well, both of our organisations are basically founded on a sense of community and that no one person can do everything, but we can all do something small. Most of us eat three times a day, maybe more, maybe less. But you have to eat food to survive. So, we’re all eating anyway. And if most of us can make subtle tweaks to our diet that are more sustainable, then that adds up to a huge net effect when there are billions of people on the planet.
So, I think it’s about sharing the cool things that are happening in different communities, like the great things you’re doing with Seasonarians and your partners and sharing good news stories. There’s a lot of darker news at the moment. Seeing good news stories is something that motivates us and shows us there’s real change happening.
We’d love to share tips for sustainable eating as well. For example, on our website, we have a seasonal eating section and a print out seasonal food chart you can stick on your fridge so that, at a glance, you can see what’s in season for each month of the year. Sharing different recipes for inspiration, too. Recipes to try low carbon or seasonal eating and freezable recipes to enjoy later. And eventually, it would be great to be to include the Seasonarian index in the app. We need to have a little think about how that would work, but making it really clear what’s in season and how you could preserve ingredients for longer.
If you own an online company promoting local, seasonal and sustainable eating, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us, we would love to hear from you! You can contact us via our Facebook or Instagram pages, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.