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Evaluation of Vantaa’s Shared Table – food loss concept highlights social returns

In March 2018 City of Vantaa and Vantaa Parish Union jointly commissioned 4FRONT to evaluate the impact of their collectively organized food loss concept Shared Table (Yhteinen pöytä). The evaluation came out in October.

Shared Table was initiated as a project of Vantaa in 2014. Today, it is a large network including approximately 40 surplus food donators, a centralized and city-led surplus food terminal, operational staff and delivery vans and around 65 food-aid organisers in different locations of Vantaa. Many of the partners are volunteers. Together they turn nearly a million kilos of surplus food every year into around thousand free meals and two thousand food bags every week. This network organizes annually over 100 events, trainings etc.

The recently finished evaluation highlighted that benefits of the Shared Table concept are not only in its efficient logistics and a large network of food-aid organisers, but it also increases the quality of served food-aid. Most importantly, as compared to traditional food banks, the complete food-aid services of the Shared Table network and their joint events offer much appreciated social networks for the needy.

Hanna Kuisma, the Project Manager of Shared Table is pleased about the evaluation. ‘The evaluation helped us to identify and capture the benefits and impacts of Shared Table. It brought evidence to our earlier anticipation that the social aspects of jointly and communally organized food-aid and events play an important role here.