May 10, 2021

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How Tessa Clark and OLIO are handling the food waste crisis


Issa Clark didn’t just ride horses when she was growing up – she rode a pig and a cow, too. And a sheep called a “sheep” (like a sheep in your dream) was adept at jumping on fences. She lived on the Borget Ranch in the Yorkshire Dales. Here she acquired her “pathological aversion to food waste” – or, in fact, waste of anything else – that is now featured in OLIO’s “sharing” app.

Her mother was bent on saving an ancient breed of pig, the Oxford Sandy and Black, from extinction. She would say to her daughter, “Look at those pigs, and tell me when they start having sex.” Tessa Clark and her sister are set to work once they are old enough to carry a bucket. “Our parents had no concerns about child labor,” she says. “You learn problem solving and flexibility while growing up on a farm.”

After graduating in Social and Political Sciences in Cambridge, she knew one thing: “I knew I didn’t want to be a farmer.” I did it. But when she looked at democracies around the world and especially the rising power of tech giants, she realized that “for every intended outcome, there is a whole set of unintended consequences.” It was this basic conviction that drove her in the direction of OLIO.