‘Deadweight Loss’ is a continuation of Kim Paton’s ‘Free Store’ project. First undertaken in Wellington, May 2010 as part of the Letting Space series and then in West Auckland 2011, Paton has continued to do extensive research and make enquiries into waste forecasting throughout New Zealand, resulting in drawings and writing. This manifested at TEZA with the commencement over the week of a blog (www.deadweightloss.org.nz), which presents Paton’s research and reflections on economic theory, business practice and the human experience of participating in the mainstream economy.
‘Free Store’ explores the viability of creating sustainable long-term food redistribution networks, distributing unsold goods from retailers and food producers. It moves beyond traditional models of corporate responsibility and charitable gift giving in an attempt to address the growing disparity between the commercial imperatives that drive food waste and the dilemma of food security and waste management.
Demand for the ‘Free Store’ from communities in Wellington and Auckland was overwhelming. The project received wide-ranging coverage from mainstream media and was the direct catalyst for debate in parliament on issues of poverty and food security in New Zealand. The Auckland trial received funding for a further two years, re-established as Fair Food the project continues to operate as a registered charitable Trust.
‘Deadweight Loss’ began as an investigation into the viability of developing an economic model for forecasting waste including research and interviews with food retailers, economists, academics and NGO’s. The proposed model uses historical inventory data with variable analysis to forecast waste margins of stock before it is ordered or produced. Challenging accepted norms that exist within commercial supply chains, waste forecasting addresses the current status quo, which externalises the flow of waste goods outside of the supply chain via donation or to landfill. Forecasting re-orientates waste to the front end of the supply chain, enabling businesses to reduce waste through ordering systems and inventory management, and empowers retailers and food producers to donate excess stock at the prime of the product’s life. It ultimately changes business and consumer attitudes to waste.
Kim Paton is an artist and curator. She is the curator for Ramp Gallery and lecturer in visual arts at the Wintec School of Media Arts, Hamilton. Recent exhibitions include Supply + Demand, The Physics Room, Christchurch 2013, Assembly, St Paul Street Gallery, Auckland, 2012, and The Free Store Project for the 29th Biennial of Graphic Arts in Ljubljana, Slovenia, 2011. Kim is the curator of the ongoing project Public Good, investigating how the planning and design of civic space defines how we engage with public environments socially and logistically. She is currently completing a Masters in Business and Economics.