The SUR+ team is a close collaboration between an enthusiastic concept team with a variety of profes-sional fields such as design, architecture, business development and arts, and the young and growing web development company Less or More. Located in Start-up region Eindhoven in The Netherlands, they work together in a highly iterative process, constantly focusing on and communicating with their end users.
How is SUR+ reducing food waste and food poverty at the same time?
We reduce both food waste and food poverty by connecting all stakeholders involved in the food chain to each other. The SUR+ platform takes away all thresholds to donate surplus food. It also creates awareness about the incredible inefficiency in the current food chain, and the simple possibilities to avoid this without big investments from either the supply or the demand side. By creating this platform within Finish we get the ability to collect data about waste on farm level, giving insights on that important missing piece of information.
How did you come up with your idea?
We do want to make the world a better place. The idea unfolded during a hackathon in the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven (October 2014) and proved its potency, but just working two days with the numbers around food waste and food poverty creates a vibe that says: we can change that! We have the tools; we have the ability! There is a great deal of intrinsic motivation within the whole team to push society forward through this project.
What was the next step?
Our next step was to get funding to realize your vision. Therefore we looked for a business partner, what was quite easily. Because the food banks in The Netherlands form a strong network of small and big food banks, supported by the national foundation Dutch Food Banks. But everything anyone does within this organization is voluntary. That is a great thing but makes all necessary innovation difficult. Teaming up with them gives us knowledge and network, and gives them a great boost of innovative young people that know how to reach out. They were incredibly content with our proposal to join forces in this.
Which technology you are using to realize SUR+?
Until now, we’ve been focusing on developing pilot-ready versions of both our apps, one for the farm-ers/donators, 1 for the Food Banks. This has highest pro due to the dependency on the harvest season. We’re proud to say we’ve just launched the pilot versions and are now working on some minor improvements and rolling out the pilot to our test users.
Both apps consist of a backend app based on PHP framework Laravel and a frontend app build with HTML/CSS/JS. Until now, both app communicate directly via API’s. Within the second half of the project the focus lies on connecting both apps to FIspace and have them communicate through there. This all to be ready for future expansion with more sources/donators and more endpoints.
What is your dream – how is SUR+ reducing food waste and poverty at the same time in 2020?
In 2020 SUR+ has become an indispensable task in the daily routine of all farmers in The Netherlands. More and more people understand the need to consider the food chain holistically. Different other countries have started using the system, all within their own context of farmers and charities working with sur-plus. The platform has evolved into the central node through which all donations, transportation needs and volunteers are processed, supported and encouraged.
If you are interested in further insides in how SUR+ is have a look at their booklet and their website