Food Activist Finds Beauty in Building a Better Future

Nina Van Hartskamp is a food activist driven by the desire to create a more beautiful world. By salvaging and giving away food that would have been thrown away, she fosters a community built on gratitude and selfless generosity.

“Instead of focusing on what’s not working,” she shares, “it’s better to focus on the things that are beautiful and then put all your energy and efforts in creating and helping that beauty.”

Video Transcript

Meet Nina Van Hartskamp: Food Activist
Amsterdam, Netherlands

(Walking on nature trail)

Nina Van Hartskamp: Yeah, there is this really big love within me for nature, and if you look at how much we waste, how much food here in the Western countries gets thrown away, yeah, that makes me angry. So that also drives me to do something that is countering that. 

Nina saves food waste from supermarkets and distributes it to the community.

(Pushing carts of bread past an urban farm)

(A wooden sign points to “Cafe ~ Urban Farm, De Kaskantine”)

I think it’s a win-win situation. If the supermarket throws perfectly good food away and you come there and you say, “Sorry, but can we please give it to people instead of burning it?” You have to balance it out. 

(Customers enter a small shop with a sign outside that says “Free Bread”)

If you are there people are really lovely, they were helping each other. If there is no money involved, I feel a bit freer. It’s more about gratitude. Most of the time it’s like big tables, so you sit next to somebody you don’t know and I think it’s good to be open to other people. We want to build a beautiful future.

We have to be honest within ourselves, with each other, within every single action that you do. And if we take the whole Earth as our garden, then it’s all part of us. Everything is so beautifully balanced. 

(Nina weaves a crown out of grasses from the urban farm)

If you see it like that then you also start to see, okay, how then are the things that I make, how can they be in this circular movement? And that’s the world we should go to because otherwise it will end for ourselves too. We just create the end, but let’s not create the end. Let’s create this beautiful generations-to-generations working with the Earth’s system. We’re smart enough! 


Instead of focusing on what’s not working, I believe it’s better to focus on the things that are beautiful and then put all your energy and efforts in creating the beauty and helping that beauty. Those are things, like Kaskantine, for example. If I could really dream, because in my imagination we can create these places amongst friends within cities. I think if you show beauty, you inspire others to also follow that.

(Nina talks to a child in a foreign language as she reaches through a fence to pet a goat)

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