I regularly mention Olio in my blogs and instagram posts, but it occurred to me that I’ve not actually fully explained who they are or what they do.
I can’t quite remember how I first heard about Olio but an app with which you can share food, well that has my name all over it, perhaps not all over it but my profile reads Laura and I’ve achieved champion status so I’ll settle for that!
The app was founded by Saasha Celestial-One and Tessa Cook, after the latter had been desperately trying to find a new home for her old food when she was moving house. The idea was to bring communities together and lessen food waste.
I’m struggling to recall what I first collected using the app; what is with my memory?! However, since then I have picked up unwanted food on a regular basis, sometimes a few times a week. Common reasons for users sharing food seem to be house moves, holidays, changes in diet, overbought and plenty of leftovers. It’s an amazing way of meeting new people and what I love about the app is that it effortlessly cuts through social divides. I’ve had a woman collect a couple of boxes of chocolates from me having had her state benefits sanctioned. I was giving said chocolates away as I’d gone vegan; a lifestyle choice that I’m privileged enough to make.
More and more businesses are distributing unwanted food on the app via food waste heroes; volunteers who will collect food from eateries such as Pret A Manger, Deliciously Ella and then list and share with users on the app. I had a bit of a first world crisis recently when I agreed to accept and distribute 30 jars of Hellman’s vegan mayonnaise, arriving home to find boxes of almost 200 jars! I needn’t have panicked it was all gone in less than a week! I kept a fair few jars for myself, a perk of being a food waste hero is that you get to keep 10% of the food that you are distributing, and discovered how well it works in cakes! The recipe shared with my by a lovely Olio user when she collected a few jars of mayo.
A few of my favourite collections have been a couple of huge hauls of vegan cupboard foods when, coincidentally, both families were moving to Dubai. Meeting Anna who shared her battle with cancer as well as the tasty salads from Deliciously Ella’s deli. Lip glosses; there is a non food section on the app. Collecting regularly from B and Natalie. Coming across wild garlic for the first time after Tamara left it on my doorstep. Being able to share the giant pumpkin from Andy’s allotment; that’s a whole other story. And, that I’ve come across so many warm and like minded individuals.
I often hear from people, when I mention Olio on Instagram, that it’s not running in their area. One of my favourite hacks is to change my location when I’m in different areas. I work across London so have arranged collections, and drop off’s, 30 miles from my home address. I’ve even been known to check the app when I’m outside London for whatever reason. And, do you know what, if it’s not yet taken off then it could start with you. I’m not saying that you have to make like Tessa and dodge removal men, armed with sweet potatoes, knocking on your neighbours door, but there is something to be said for being the change that we want to see. Can you sort through your cupboards and create your own listing? Contact local businesses to enquire whether they would be interested. Ask us how to go about getting started. There is a forum on the app for any questions. We have a Facebook group. Instagram account. Regular newsletter. We are a community of which you are welcome, and so is your day old bread!
Download the app at:-