Tessa Clarke was in the middle of moving when she came across some food she couldn’t bear to throw away. It sent her on a wild (and ultimately unsuccessful) goose chase to find a good home for the orphan produce. 'Through the whole process, it seemed to me crazy that I should have to throw this food away when there were surely plenty of people within hundreds of metres of me who would love it,' Clarke says. 'The problem was they just didn’t know about it.'
So she dreamed up the idea for an app and brought it to life with help from friend and co-founder Saasha Celestial-One. OLIO is a neighbour-to-neighbour food-sharing platform that combats waste by allowing folks to list and claim surplus eats. It’s a mission that’s become increasingly urgent over the past year.
'COVID has resulted in an outburst of neighbourly sharing, as reflected by the fact that the amount of food being shared each month has increased five-fold since the pandemic struck,' Clarke says. 'That’s because COVID highlighted just how precious food is, which led to a collective leap in terms of how much we value it.'
With more than 3 million users and almost 15 million portions of food shared, Clarke and Celestial-One are setting their sights on an even bolder target: 1 billion OLIO users by 2030 – an effort that could ultimately help ease climate and hunger issues around the globe.