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A Rio soup kitchen tackles Olympics food waste

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Adrees Latif/Reuters/File

(Read caption) People play soccer on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, August 18, 2016.

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Massimo Bottura is a world-renowned Italian chef and founder of the non-profit Food for Soul, which works with public and private organizations to generate awareness about food waste and hunger. Bottura's non-profit partnered with Gastromotiva, a non-profit based in Brazil, to develop the soup kitchen RefettoRio Gastromotiva. Bottura hopes that RefettoRio Gastromotiva will highlight the issue of food waste during the Olympics, where the soup kitchen is projected to recover twelve tons of surplus food.

Bottura will work with a team of celebrity chefs from France, Spain, and Brazil to craft an estimated total of 19k meals. The chefs’ creations will be free in an effort to address both waste and poverty.

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“We have an opportunity with this project, which is cultural, and not a charitable project, to fight wastefulness. If we change the way people think, we can help give birth to a new tradition,” Bottura declared at a press conference. The project will continue after the Olympics, as Rio city hall allowed RefettoRio Gastromotiva to remain on the site, free of charge, for ten years. It will operate as a restaurant-school, offering workshops on nutrition and healthy food choices.

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In addition to Rio, Bottura has pursued his goal of reducing waste and using it to feed others at the Expo Milano in 2015, and earlier this year in Turin, Italy. He hopes that his projects will motivate other communities to follow in his footsteps.