Of the food produced, 30% of food gets wasted before it even reaches the consumer. The coronavirus pandemic has drawn attention to the fragility of our food ecosystem. The pandemic has caused jobs to be lost, prevented farmers from working on their farms, put restrictions on trade, broken supply chains and caused some people to hoard more food than they can consume leaving others who can’t afford it with barely anything.
Food shortage can be solved by addressing the problem of food wastage. Due to the distance from farm to table, produce is lost in fields, warehouses, supermarkets, restaurants and fridges. This is the consequence of not having the demand for food estimated and met where and when it is needed.
Alora (means ‘The Dream’)
It is a social enterprise built around the idea of communal living, focusing on a model that is self-sufficient and internally codependent. With a dream that we can tackle our daily consumption needs by growing food for our community, in our community.
So how does this work?
Alora’s mobile application uses AI, to predict future requirement based on past needs. It maps collective consumption data to the farming timeline of the community. So, based on demand, predictive harvest, the previous crop cycle, space and willingness to plant, it can determine how much more food is required and who has the ability to plant in order to meet the demand. In collaboration with the government, Alora identifies vacant and abandoned spaces that can be converted into urban farms to make up the deficit of produce required for the community.
The application will also help individual households manage their home gardens by assisting them with what to plant, timely reminders to water and fertilize, a plant growth tracker, offering professional help, assistance with ‘meal plan’ based on the random ingredients in their fridge and their ability to store effectively.
To fulfil the need to recycle food back into the system the application also provides solutions to make the most use of leftovers with creative recipes, composting scraps of food and regrowing vegetables.
Alora’s future plan is to give unemployed people the opportunity to work on urban farms without any work experience and to grow within the system, thus giving them an education and experience in the field. The produce that is grown on these farms will provide nutritious meals for the farmers, gets used in the restaurant owned by Alora and will supply food that the community needs but has not produced.
Educating the community is at the core of the program, learning about what goes into producing the food eaten will deepen the value for food. When we value food, we waste less and grow towards self-sufficiency.
Roshni Ruth Jesudoss