Q&A: Entrepreneur Tessa Clarke on the question of connection

There’s nothing quite like food to help people connect. An unexpected benefit of OLIO, an app to stop surplus food going to waste, is how it brings together neighbours that might never have otherwise met. I asked its co-founder Tessa Clarke to share her thoughts on connection.


How does the idea of connection fit into your work?

OLIO is all about connection—connecting people who have food that they don’t want or need, with neighbours living nearby who would like it. What we find though, is that the connection is about so much more than just the food: it’s about building relationships with your local community, which can be incredibly powerful and fulfilling. It needs to be tried to be believed!


tessa clarkeWhat’s the link between the way you grew up and the way you live now?

In many ways I feel that founding OLIO has brought me full circle to my upbringing on my family’s farm. There I had a very keen appreciation of the value of food—and would never dream of wasting it, as I knew how much hard work had gone into producing it. Back then I was also incredibly connected with nature, and so today I feel extremely motivated to do whatever I can to help mitigate the terrible climate crisis that we face.


What’s your favourite way to connect with people?

Most definitely over a meal—whether at home, or in a restaurant—with some lovely wine and great conversation.


What’s one thing you don’t like to share?

My husband!


What do you do when you need to disconnect?

Batch cooking and baking for my family. It makes me feel like I’m providing for them (especially when I’m away for work), and is really helpful in terms of our family’s zero waste journey. I also love listening to a podcast while running in the countryside.


Photo credit:  Annabel Staff