Did you know that 25% of all food that is being produced is lost due to spoilage? What a waste! According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation, about 795 million people suffer chronic undernourishment globally. That’s one in nine persons. At the same time, agriculture is putting enormous pressure on our planet’s natural resources. Agricultural processes represent about 70% of the world’s fresh water consumption and cause about 14% of all greenhouse gas emissions. Reasons enough to tackle food waste.

Kavita Shukler showing off her Preshpaper which keeps fruits and veggies from getting spoiled (photo: Kavita Shukler)

And that’s exactly what a small start-up based in the US is doing. And not by spraying tons of chemicals on your food, using charcoal, or packing it in plastic. Fenugreen developed a simple, natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungus sheet you drop in a fruit bowl, fridge drawer, or salad bag. The sheets are made with a mixture of herbs and spices and expand the lifetime of your food two to three times.

(graphic: Fenugreen)

The sheets are not only helping to keep your strawberries fresh but can be used in every step of the food chain. From harvest to your kitchen. In fact, that’s how Fenugreen started out: distributing handmade batches of Freshpaper to the local farmer’s market. Soon, the idea attracted attention and Fenugreen started distributing to several markets and food banks in the US. After Hurricane Katrina, Fenugreen launched the “Buy one pack, Give one pack” campaign where for each sold package, one was given away to food banks to help keep produce to be distributed to those affected by Hurricane Sandy fresh. Today, you can order Freshpaper online from around the world.

As if Fenugreen’s mission to give everyone access to fresh and healthy food isn’t inspiring already, the founder’s story certainly is. Kavita Shukla was a normal girl going to middle-school until she made a trip to India to visit her grandmother. While brushing her teeth, she forgot the “don’t drink tap water” rule. Her grandmother made her a herb and spices drink which saved her from getting sick. Once back home, Shukla wanted to find out how that homemade remedy worked and started experimenting with mixtures of herbs and spices. By 17, she had perfectioned and patented her Freshpaper sheets.

What do we remember from her story? As Shukla said it herself, ‘no dream is too big, you just need to take the first step’. Oh and of course, from now on you have no excuse to let your fruit go bad. Get yourself and friends a pack and support the good cause!

(graphic: Fenugreen)