On Friday 20 May, Davide Devenuto received the new ‘Louis Bonduelle Foundation Award’ at a ceremony during ChangeNOW 2022, the world’s largest event for the planet. Presented by Christophe Bonduelle, President of the Louis Bonduelle Foundation, this award recognises the involvement of the SPESASOSPESA project in the fight against food waste and for solidarity with deprived communities in Italy. It also underlines the importance of blockchain as a new way of funding social projects.
For this new format of the Louis Bonduelle Foundation Award, the emphasis has been placed on solidarity actions that support access to plant-based foods (including whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fruit). And a new format means new personalities embodying this commitment around the world. For several months, teams from the Foundation identified and evaluated some amazing solidarity projects built around plant-based food. Employees of the Bonduelle Group then voted for their favourite initiatives. The aim was to select two candidates for the grand final of the Foundation’s Award, organised in the spectacular setting of the Grand Palais Ephémère, in Paris, on the occasion of ChangeNOW 2022.
Why present the Louis Bonduelle Foundation Award at ChangeNOW?
The ChangeNOW Summit is the global event dedicated to positive impact and real solutions for the planet. It includes conferences, workshops, round tables… The aim is clear: to put forward concrete solutions for the planet during three days of debates, pitch sessions and meet-ups. Every year, the event brings together personalities of different backgrounds and from all over the world, all of whom share a desire to respond to the major challenges of the future.
For Christophe Bonduelle, presenting the Bonduelle Foundation Award at the event was an obvious choice, as the ChangeNOW start-up aims to accelerate the transition to a more sustainable world. It highlights the work of those who invent solutions to provide concrete responses to the social and environmental challenges we face. The Foundation’s actions are in line with the major food challenges of tomorrow, in particular the improvement of eating habits, nutrition and the transition to plant-based food.
One award, two nominees and an exceptional jury
This year, the Foundation selected seven projects – three from France, two from the United States, one from Spain and one from Italy. What they all had in common were committed ideas with a positive impact for people and the planet. The two finalists selected by the employees of the Bonduelle Group were Kimberly Renee (United States) and Davide Devenuto (Italy). They were judged by a jury of experts composed of:
- Chantal Monvois, Executive Officer of the AgroParis Tech Foundation
- Co-founder of So Good, Member of the Ulule Advisory Board
- Johanna Le Pape, Pastry and wellness chef and World Champion of Sweet Arts
All three were moved by Davide Devenuto’s approach. Since 2020, this famous Italian actor has been committed to helping deprived communities in Italy thanks to an original programme of donations of surplus food, particularly fruit and vegetables. Kimberly, for her part, connects vegan organisations and brands with families suffering from food insecurity. In other words, two projects directly involved in the transition to plant-based food!
Davide Devenuto’s commitment began with a simple “caffè”
The Spesasospesa project has its origins in the Neapolitan “caffè sospeso” (a “suspended” or pending coffee), a tradition of solidarity towards the poorest that emerged in the bars of Naples in the middle of the twentieth century. It consists – for a fortunate Neapolitan and for whatever reason – in ordering a coffee and paying for two, one for oneself and another for a poor customer who might ask for it. It’s a tradition that involves generosity and trust, values that have driven Davide’s projects from the very start.
Spesasospesa is a solidarity initiative in favour of the most economically deprived families. It is based on collecting donations and recycling any waste or surplus basic necessities. The project also stands out for its method of financing – blockchain.
Blockchain technology is not yet widely used in philanthropic actions, but it offers considerable advantages. Thanks to the digitisation of the donation process, it is possible to improve the transparency of operations and to establish a direct link between donors and organisations (traceability). Donors are therefore better informed about the work of the association, in all its aspects, both in terms of the actions carried out and its internal organisation.
According to Davide, this project is a great success and incredibly rewarding on a daily basis. But it needs to grow. His aim is therefore to make it better known, both to the general public and to companies, and this is why the Louis Bonduelle Foundation Award is a wonderful showcase for the initiative. Davide concludes that it is important to change perceptions about giving: donating surplus production must become a habit, a reflex that can then be used in solidarity projects, such as Spesasospesa.
A passion for plant-based food
While Kimberly Renee’s project missed out on the Foundation’s Award, it also deserves congratulations and support. Its premise is equally original in that the idea grew out of a famous New York dating app. How does the Food Love project work? A bit like a love story…
Food Love is essentially an encounter between two seemingly contrasting networks. On the one hand, is the network of advocates, volunteers active in thousands of grassroots organisations across the country – they either speak for deprived communities or work closely with them. On the other, is the network of vegan companies, brands or organisations that access or distribute food in this sector. And in between them is the Food Love app which automatically makes the connection between these two worlds.
For Kimberly, a passionate vegan chef and director of a communications agency, plant-based foods are at the heart of the Food Love project for a number of obvious reasons:
- Eating more plant-based food is good for your health (and nutrition), whether you are omnivore, vegetarian, flexitarian, or whatever your food culture might be.
- For those affected by food insecurity, this is often the food group most likely to be left out due to cost.
Food Love must now evolve. The first step is to grow and find an organisation that will host the programme and take it to the next level. The second step is to specifically target families at everyday risk of food insecurity, and give them easier access to fresh plant-based food, so as better to cover their nutritional needs.