Irene Mosota is one of the four Leithers featured in the upcoming ‘Leith’s good with food’ campaign for Changeworks' Zero Waste Leith project to help reduce food waste and increase food recycling.
Her great smile and visible bond to her daughter Bridget weren’t the only reasons we chose her for the photo shoot. We also chose her because she launched a social enterprise business to help tackle food waste. We caught up with her this Halloween to find out more about her business.
What made you start your business?
We set up our social enterprise, i’mPerfect foods, with the explicit intention of reducing food waste and to create positive benefits for our community and the environment. I was embarrassed by the shameful paradox of so many families unable to put food on the table, while we waste almost 1/3 of the food we produce, myself included. The effect of food waste on the environment was also a big concern. By wasting food, we show little regard for the efforts of our farmers.
You help businesses to reduce their food waste. What kind of services do you offer them?
We help hospitality and food businesses with solutions to help reduce food waste. We do this by helping them with tools to measure food waste and embedding best practices through behaviour change and training.
And what’s the ‘social’ part of your enterprise?
Our social goal is to address issues of food insecurity and inequality in our society and to raise awareness among the general public about food waste. At the moment we are focused on early years and maternal nutrition as well as what role we should play to help families get access to healthy food and make healthy food choices. We do this by running cookery classes and providing resources such as recipes and other support they might need.
Where does your company’s name ‘i’mPerfect‘ come from?
We wanted a name that would reinforce the idea that food that is falsely perceived as imperfect is more often than not actually good to eat. If you change the way you view the letters in the word imperfect, you can see the message I’m Perfect. We feel the same view should be taken about all produce that is discarded.
You’re originally from Kenya. Do people have a different attitude to food waste there?
Food waste is a global phenomenal and Kenya is no exception. Kenya is one of the countries that is vulnerable to drought and famine so food is very precious. Unlike western countries, Kenya experiences post-harvest food losses. This is when food is wasted due to lack of proper storage and transportation after harvesting. Vast amounts of food are left to rot at source before they reach the food supply chain. This leaves many Kenyans feeling unsure whether they’ll have enough to eat.
What are your tips for people to help reduce their food waste?
Have meal plans, always take a shopping list with you. Don’t fall for seductive ‘buy one get one free’ promotions. Stop cooking those intimate dinners for eight when there’s only two of you. Waste not and you’ll want not.
Do you have a favourite recipe you make from leftovers? Can you share it with us?
Don’t throw out the marrow from curved pumpkins or squash. Use it to make muffins.
3 cups plain flour
1 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup whole milk
1 cup pureed cooked winter squash
½ cup butter or Margarine
In a large bowl, combine first 6 ingredients, mix well. In a separate bowl, combine milk, squash, butter and eggs; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fill greased or paper lined muffin cups about two thirds full. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 20-25 minutes.