Vita – Julia Heyl

Julia Heyl

Nutrition and Food Systems Division (ESN), Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations

Julia N. Heyl has worked for the “Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction” of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) since 2015. A sociologist she develops information and teaching materials for children and young people on food waste as well as gender issues with the context of rural development,  value chains and food losses. Before this she worked for the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES). She studied languages, economic and cultural studies in Passau and has a PhD in sociology.

Five questions to Julia Heyl

1. Which aspect of the food waste problem is the most relevant for you?

To fight food loss and waste it is key to look at the systemic aspects and conditions that lead to loss and waste. On the other hand, it is important to approach and address the public with information and education, to facilitate individual behavioural changes.

2. What do you think is the best way to make improvements in this area?

To approach individuals and to facilitate behavioural change, information and awareness raising is key. The FAO considers children and young people as change makers that can influence habits and practices in families and schools to reduce food waste.

3. Can you already discover a positive development in society in this area?

Food waste is a highly emotional topic. Many people, especially children and young adults, cannot understand how we can waste so much food while many people do not have sufficient food to grow and live healthily. In the last few years many initiatives and social entrepreneurship activities have been launched by young people that, with the help of the social networks or smart phone apps, save food and reduce food waste.

4. What institutional measures would you like to see in the future?

Food loss and waste has immense economic, social and environmental costs. The multifaceted reasons and impacts of food loss and waste need to be taken into consideration when looking for solutions considering the whole food supply chain.

5. Which role does the Initiative SAVE FOOD play in fighting food losses and food waste in your opinion?

The SAVE FOOD Initiative is receiving a great deal of attention and is able to spread the word in a targeted manner and convey the urgency of the issue. It is also an excellent platform to facilitate partnerships among likeminded actors to jointly combat food losses and waste.