RE-FOOD Portugal

Re-food 4 Good Association

Contact: Hunter Halder (Project Coordinator)

Re-food 4 Good Association:
Av. João Crisóstomo, 71 – 3º Esq., 1050-126 Lisbon, Portugal
Re-food Movement office Address:
Rua D Luís I, 3 – 4th floor, 1200-149 Lisbon, Portugal
Phone: +351 916531627

WHERE: Portugal
WHEN: 2011 – present (ongoing)
WASTE MANAGEMENT HIERARCHY: Prevention: Replacement – Reduction, Preparing for reuse
TYPE OF INSTRUMENT: Education, awareness raising and Voluntary
WASTE STREAMS: Food and organic waste

A word from the project manager:
“The Re-food Model works as a 100% volunteer, goodwill driven/ citizen run movement dedicated to ending food waste and hunger locally by mobilizing all of the elements of a given community – we will gladly assist anyone who desires to implement it correctly in their local community” (Mr. Hunter Halder)

Re-food is an independent, citizen driven, 100% volunteer, eco-humanitarian community charity, working to eliminate food waste and hunger on a neighborhood basis.

Excess food from supply partners is collected and stored in containers, and taken to the Re-food operation centers where it is divided into portions, which are distributed to people in the community. The project started in 2011 and has more than 7000 volunteers serving about 120 000 meals per month to 6500 beneficiaries in 45 Centers and has 1600 food source partners all over Portugal.
Re-food operates in, of and for the community, working without salaries and avoiding any and all costs / investments that do not serve its mission.
Re-food’s low cost / high productivity food rescue model improves the quality of life of people in need while strengthening the social fabric of the local community.

RE-FOOD volunteer team at work

The mission is to eliminate food waste and end hunger, involving the full community in common cause. RE-FOOD envisions a New World, where everyone has the food that they need; where all of the food produced goes first to feed people; where citizens participate actively in the management of precious community resources.
The Re-food Movement was born in the neighborhood of Nossa Senhora de Fátima (Our Lady of Fátima), in the heart of Lisbon, Portugal. It has been replicating since the beginning, in 2011 – first geometrically (doubling each year during the first 4 years) and, more recently, exponentially (tripling in number during 2015. Interest has been growing internationally, with people or teams working in cities throughout Portugal to bring the benefits of the Re-food model to their cities. The Re-food Movement will begin opening centers in Italy in 2019.

The Re-food Movement produces 100% of its significant positive social impact through community partnerships.The main objective is to build an inclusive matrix of community partnerships – citizens, companies and institutions, all working together to make their shared world a better place. Volunteers, Restaurants, Cafes, Beneficiaries, Local Governments, Churches, Foundations, Universities, Bakeries, City Governments, Social Partners, Supermarkets, Festivals, Caterers, Businesses of all kinds – everyone in the community is called to partnership with the Re-food Movement!


The Re-food Movement began as an idea in late 2010. During the first 10 weeks of 2011, a lot of preliminary work was done: investigation of food sources (285) possible partnerships (Church, local government) and communication channels to the community (the first Refood Facebook page was created on the 25th of January, 2011). This developmental work resulted in the birth of the Re-food Project which was launched on March 9th, 2011, with the first food collections and deliveries.
In the ensuing 14 weeks, the increasing popular participation, operational effectiveness and the obvious benefits produced, suggested the need to form an association to provide a legal platform for the continued development of the then microscopic project (operating in only seven city blocks in the heart of Lisbon, Portugal).
Re-food 4 Good – Associação (a Portuguese non-profit) was formed on the 18th of July, 2011 to serve the already existing Project.
As a legal entity, Re-food 4 Good was able to submit a candidacy for the first edition of “Youth Volunteering Prize” organized and funded by the Montepio Bank. The 121 candidates produced 5 finalists and 1 winner. The 25.000€ prize represented the first institutional funding for the project and allowed the purchase of the material needed to expand. The resultant media attention provided a flood of volunteers.

The idea (2010) which became a project (2011 – 2014) has now evolved into a Movement (2015). Re-food 4 Good applied for and received the status of “Private Entity Serving the Public Good” (in Portuguese: Instituição Privada de Solidariedade Social – or IPSS) on the 15th of April 2013. The budget in 2014, according to their site, was around 303 k€ for all country, which were supported by donations.


In early 2011, one volunteer on a bicycle harvested 30 restaurants a day – rescuing enough food to feed around 50 people in need, 5 days a week. That volunteer was joined by 30 others in less than 30 days. They were 100 by the end of the year and were saving and serving many more meals and people. There are 45 Re-food centers operating throughout the country, where more than 7,000 volunteers are currently (mid 2018) rescuing 120,000 meals a month from more than 1600 food source partners (restaurants, supermarkets and farmers) and serving 6,500 people, 5 or 6 days a week.

Evolution in 7 years:
– From 1 Volunteer > 7000 Volunteers
– From 34 Beneficiaries > 6500 Beneficiaries
– From 1,000 meals a month to 120,000 meals a month
– From an unknown neighborhood project to an exponentially growing National Movement
– From 1 Center covering 30 food sources in a 7 block area > 45 Centers and 1600 food source partners all over Portugal.

Urban metabolism relevance

The practice has been implemented in a broader policy context than the one of the urban waste policy. The results of the practice refer to outcomes going beyond waste prevention and management, for example: improving air quality within the city (by reducing the bio waste disposed in landfills, encouraging product sharing solutions etc.), reducing the use of natural resources.
The practice has been elaborated / implemented / evaluated in connection with various urban material flows and / or analyzed the connection within various urban material flows. The practice is contributing to circular economy approaches by enhancing the circularity of materials (via reuse, donate actions) and / or by aiming to „close the loop” and / or by showing the valorization approaches of the waste.

Every meal rescued reduces the negative impact of biomass degrading the environment in landfills, while the neighborhood focus of the Re-food model allows us to maximize food collection while minimizing ecological footprint – much of the collection work can be performed by teams walking and riding bicycles. Additionally, generously donated electric vehicles help maintain high productivity and low environmental impact.

Engaged participatory processes

Re-food works differently from other food rescue operations and differently from other social movements. Each Re-food Center is focused on serving their own local community. This can perhaps seem like a banal point, but this single fact creates the conditions for a wide range of benefits that are generated as a direct result of the micro local focus:

– Eliminating Food Waste: It is only in the context of a micro local environment that the possibility of ending food waste can be considered (macro urban food rescue operations necessarily focus on large donors and necessarily exclude large numbers of small and medium donors) while the micro local model includes all food sources within the delineated territory.

– Ending Hunger: In the context of the macro urban environment, large rescue operations deliver their rescued food to institutions already serving a fixed clientele whereas in the micro local environment model, those individuals and families not being supported by other institutions are the first to receive food assistance.

– Building Community Solidarity: Only concerted, shared activity that endures over time, can build community solidarity – this is the strong point in the Re-food model and cannot be attained through a macro urban operation.
The Re-food Movement’s neighborhood focus enables many different members of the local community come together and change the world around them.


The practice uses original or resourceful techniques:

– organizational
– social (based on new types of engagement, with a clear social focus / impact)
– economic (derived from new types of business models and approaches)
The Re-food Movement is making a difference. Its innovations work together to resolve the most challenging problem of food rescue in the commercial consumer environment: “how to provide a sustainable food rescue service to the many, many different and disperse points of collection daily – and in real time”. Any true solution to the challenge to feed the hungry must necessarily fulfill some basic criteria: It must provide enormous amounts good, nutritious food on a daily basis without exhausting its supply and it must do so continuously and without significant costs –that is, almost for free.

Sustainability and replicability

The practice can be easily reproduced by citizens, with support and facilitation provided by local authorities and is relevant for other regions across Europe. Re-food has been in movement since its first moments: evolving quantitatively and qualitatively – it grows as citizens decide to change the world in their own communities; it improves as its members discover better ways to accomplish the mission and serve their communities.
Re-food is powered by goodwill: all of the food is donated freely by food source partners, all of the work is by performed by volunteers motivated by good will, the operational space is donated without costs and the unavoidable operating costs are very low – averaging about $300 per month (easily funded by the good will of the community at large).
The thousands of meals that are rescued and delivered each month by every Re-food center are produced for less than 10 cents each (of course, they are delivered without charge). Economic sustainability flows from the model’s efficacy and the goodwill of the community.

Success Factors

• 7,000 volunteers invest a very few hours once a week in food collection, packaging or distribution.
• 1600 food source partners (restaurants, supermarkets and farmers)
Numerous awards and recognitions

Waste, Resources, Innovation.
Key challenges

• communicating the opportunity to all concerned communities
• inviting local citizens to make the commitment to implement Re-food and change the world in their communities
• inviting local public authorities to get involved in the project and others stakeholders (ex. private companies)


For more information, please check the deliverable, or contact the implementing body.

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