Credit: Otilia Dragan/

On the evening of Sunday 26 May 2024, Maison de la Transition (MESA) organised a Zero Waste Food Dinner, co-organised with Foodsharing Luxembourg, aiming to combat food waste while bringing people together.

Speaking to, project manager Yasmin Labidi of the Esch-sur-Alzette-based MESA, elaborated on this monthly community event, its goals and the parent association behind it: Transition Minett.

Yasmin Labidi lamented that around 30% of food produced worldwide is thrown away. This is due to various issues even before the food gets to the shelf. It may be due to the food produced not meeting  the specified criteria, though in other cases it is due to systematic overproduction, careless storage at home or even buying too much food, among other reasons.

This anti-food-waste dinner event as it is today started in this particular form around October 2023. Foodsharing Luxembourg, an environmental volunteer-run non-profit organisation, counting around 700 people, picks up and redistributes still-edible food that would be thrown away from businesses and organisations, if they are not taken by charities. This food is then usually made available free-of-charge at various food-sharing points. In addition, once per month, recovered food is transformed by half a dozen volunteer cooks into a free community meal – any missing ingredients are taken from the MESA’s shop, which may cost the meal sharers an additional €0.20 to €0.50 per person. Drinks are not included in the menu, and are available at the MESA bar.

Yasmin Labidi stressed that this is not a “service”, but a community event which aims to raise awareness to the issue of food waste. The event attracts many “expats”, students whose small kitchens seldom allow them to cook elaborate meals, as well as people who like to cook and share their skills with others. Others are interested in learning how to cook or simply want to make new friends in the urban community in Esch-sur-Alzette. Yasmin noted that beyond skill sharing, people just come to have fun in a “very international” environment.

Transition Minett, the association behind MESA, started in 2011, bringing citizens together who wanted to start a community garden, now called "Breedewee", Yasmin Labidi explained. By becoming an association, the city of Esch-sur-Alzette could support them in creating a citizen-led space to meet, talk and implement ecological solutions together. This group then decided to buy produce in bulk from local farmers, thus enabling citizens to obtain local products from a centralised space in the city. The MESA building used to be a bakery in 1914, and is now part local, "bio" and vegetarian restaurant (with its professional kitchen), part community kitchen and part shop with seasonal, local and organic produce and various merchandise primarily from Luxembourg and the Greater Region. MESA also organises community events concerning ecological topics.

Beyond food-sharing and local produce, Transition Minett also created a “factory of collaborative alternatives”, aiming to help the transition towards a circular economy. Facilitec, based in Esch-sur-Alzette as well, is looking to create a “library of objects” in addition to its already existing tool library. Citizens can come, borrow an item for free, use it and bring it back within a week. They also organise repair cafes, second-hand clothes fairs, workshops and community events of various kinds.

The upcoming zero waste dinners for June, July and August will take place at the Bâtiment 4 in Esch-sur-Alzette. Registration is required per email, and those wanting to cook should indicate this in their registration email. Cooking starts around 16:00, the meal is ready around 18:00 and the dinner ends at 21:00.