Mutsumi Adachi a fashion designer, underwater diver, fusion cuisine cook and world traveller. Her passion for holistic healing and environmental issues has led to her to being a highly sought after workshop presenter and speaker worldwide. But she’s also the founder of Thailand’s Sang Foundation and, with many volunteers, she’s been out and about amongst our region’s communities delivering food donations to people struggling to feed their families.
Mutsumi has such an extensive, varied and surprising resume that would take more than one brief interview and short article to reveal. Mutsumi was born in Japan to mixed Japanese/Chinese parentage, is married to a Frenchman and amongst other places has lived in Europe, Hong Kong and Taiwan but she’s also been coming to Hua Hin for over 30 years; this is her home.
The Sang Foundation has a focus on addressing environmental issues, particularly plastic waste contamination, a serious problem that Mutsumi saw first-hand diving in the Philippines and Indonesian waters. Witnessing the impact of both plastic contamination and climatic change to these formerly pristine environments was the catalyst for her to set up the Foundation and to become an educator and staunch advocate for change.
But travel restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 have made big difference to the Foundation’s ability to deliver that message. Those restrictions led to the Foundation beginning to tackle a serious local issue; the severe food shortage amongst local poorer community members. COVID-19 affects all of us, however for those who already had very little, the impact has been far more devastating.
Largely thanks to Mutsumi’s network of supporters, often large corporate benefactors, the Sang Foundation has been delivering essential food items to these local communities. To date over 4,000 families, 26,500 individuals have been helped with food distributed from well over a million THB in donations.
However there’s a bigger plan to make a difference to this huge issue. The next stage is for the Sang Foundation to be the catalyst for a branch of the Bangkok based organisation SOS to be established in Hua Hin. SOS or ‘Scholars of Sustenance’ is redefining the way food is distributed both in Bangkok and Phuket to tackle the food deficit issue and put good nutrition into the hands of those who need it most. That is a mission that SOS has been striving for since 2012.
The SOS Foundation started in Bangkok, with the realisation that large tourist hotels have surplus food with around 35% of all food purchased ending up in the landfill. Often down the road from these companies, people have little to eat on a regular basis. The organisation then interviewed many people, did their research, reviewed ideas with experts and established the basic principles of food rescue.
Founder Bo H. Holmgreen, a highly successful Danish entrepreneur-come-philanthropist who launched SOS to reduce food waste in Thailand says “We do all the transports for free, we clean our own containers, and recycle those in and out from the donors, recipients and so on. We make it simple; taking care of all the logistics and doing it at no cost to them. And why would the hotels not donate? All the chefs have seen this food waste for years and years, and here they are seeing that there is somebody actually coming with a solution!”
SOS has estimated that over 100 million meals from ‘rescued food’ that are being wasted every month in Southeast Asia could be redistributed to underprivileged people, so the opportunities for food rescue operations to grow is enormous. Now over a ton of edible food is rescued and distributed every single day in Bangkok; that’s a lot of nutrition provided to those in need and not polluting our planet with methane gasses from waste.
The SOS food rescue model is about to be established in Hua Hin. A distribution centre has been found, transport vehicles will soon appear with refrigerated trucks as a priority, and a local supervisor will be appointed. Volunteers to ensure the success of this mission will always be needed.
Mutsumi is planning a big SOS launch soon and then get back to her Sang Foundation’s primary mission. Achieving an ongoing SOS presence in Hua Hin will be a big personal achievement, but for her, making a big difference to the needs of our community members in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way is much more important.
About the Sang Foundation: www.sangfoundation.org
About SOS: www.scholarsofsustenance.org