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Not an Odd Idea at All!

Oddbox: a business that helps people and planet

We had a Q and A with one of our fantastic donors, Deepak from Oddbox. Here's what he had to say. As you can see, donating to City Harvest London not only benefits the people that receive the food but also the businesses that donate their surplus. What's not to love?

Tell us about your social enterprise?

Oddbox fights food waste by rescuing wonky and surplus fruit and veg from local farms and markets and delivering them directly to homes and offices. We pay a fair price to local farms and markets and donate up to 10% of our produce to food charities and local community projects including City Harvest.

How did you get involved with City Harvest?
We made a commitment to be a zero-waste enterprise and to that effect we searched and reached out to community projects to understand if we could re-deploy our unsold produce to people who are actually in need of good fresh food. In November 2016, we had a glut of 35 kg of apples and got in touch with City Harvest to coordinate a collection after which we decided to donate up to 10% of our produce regularly to them. We did not want to wait till we became a large enterprise to start donating. We wanted that to be part of our philosophy from inception and as a social enterprise fighting food waste, as part of our zero waste commitment, it was only natural to start donating.

When was Oddbox founded?

Oddbox was founded in May 2016 by a husband and wife team –myself (Deepak Ravindran) and my wife, Emilie Vanpoperinghe.

Who do you serve?

We deliver fresh, local but slightly misshapen and surplus produce in veg box scheme to homes in South London and offices in London Zones 1 and 2.

What is your vision for your business?

We have currently rescued over 20 tonnes of produce from waste and would like to extend that to 100 tonnes over the next year. We help around 22 suppliers to help earn additional income from produce that might otherwise be wasted and want to be servicing at least 50 suppliers over the next 12 months. We also want to expand to the rest of London with our home boxes and potentially to Bristol over the next 2 years.

Do you have a sustainability policy?

Yes, we have a commitment to reduce food waste directly as part of what we do. We also assure that we don’t use any plastic or packaging inside our boxes. We collect any used boxes from our customers so that we can re-use or recycle these boxes.

How do you feel about supporting local charities ?

We think that food poverty is as big a problem as food waste and a lot of people unfortunately do not have the access to good food. City Harvest London and other charities do a fantastic job by combating the twin challenges of food poverty and food waste.

What are your feelings with regard to food waste ?

Because fresh food is so easily available year round, we seem to have taken food for granted. We waste food in our farms, markets and in our homes. Overall we waste £17 billion worth of food just in the UK which could help solve food poverty and hunger in the UK and even other parts of the world.

In what way does donating to City Harvest benefit your business?

Immensely. The convenience of City Harvest collecting our fresh produce from our warehouse every day means we do not waste our produce and the fact that it reaches people in need is great motivation for us as a business.

What do you typically donate?

Our donation varies week on week but an ideal week could contain fresh vegetables including Brassicas, root vegetables and any salad varieties plus fresh fruits like stone fruits and soft fruits.

Are you involved with any other charities?

Yes, we also donate to a local community project called People’s Fridge.

Are you aware of where your donations go?

We really appreciate that it goes to Soup kitchens and Shelters in the area in which our business operates. This is something we really value and understand that City Harvest makes an effort to enable businesses to make a very local and sustainable impact in their communities.

Thank you Deepak for being part of the City Harvest team!

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