West London’s Food Waste Movement Gets Funky
In recent years food waste has gone from minor afterthought to full blown media sensation. With TV programmes like Hugh’s War on Waste and the Evening Standard’s recent Food for London campaign, food waste’s become the topic du jour across London’s dining tables – and with good reason! Did you know 1/3 of all the food we produce is wasted before it even reaches our plates?
When we throw food away, it’s not only the food that goes to waste, but all the resources that went into growing it (water, soil hard work) and the impact of transporting it all around the world. Making the most of the food we have saves us money and helps make sure natural resources don’t go to waste. Food is the biggest component of all our waste here in west London so we’ve been trying to reduce it for years.
Perhaps you’ve seen us at a summer fair with our famous smoothie bike or at the library on one of our Love Food Hate Waste tours. Or maybe you’ve come across our lovely Spud and Slice mascots, working to save themselves from the bin as the two most commonly wasted foods in the UK. There’s also a great section on our website dedicated to food waste reduction – have a browse here. We love talking to you, our residents, about how you make the most of your food, providing you with ideas, recipes and free tools to do just that and collecting your knowledge and spreading it far and wide. If you haven’t seen us around now’s your chance!
Our next food waste reduction event is coming up on 27 October at our funky Disco Soup and we need your help. Get your peelers ready and your dancing shoes on because while we listen to our DJ spin we need everyone to peel and chop, to help make a delicious meal from surplus food. Dinner will then be cooked by a professional chef as we listen to talks from some of London’s top stars in the fight against food waste including FareShare, Olio and Too Good To Go.
Food Waste Champions
At our Disco Soup you’ll be able to connect with some of London’s leading food waste reduction experts, but there are lots more out there working tirelessly to decrease the amount of food winding up in our bins and ultimately landfill. Read on to find out what some groups are doing to reduce food waste across the capital and beyond.
Fareshare is a food supply organisation saving good food destined for waste by sending it to charities and community groups who transform it into nutritious meals for vulnerable people. The food they redistribute is fresh, quality and in date surplus from the food industry. Last year they redistributed enough food for 18.3 million meals.
Olio is a free app that connects neighbours with each other and with local businesses so surplus food can be shared, not thrown away. Their mission is to unlock the value of food that is wasted in the home and the community.
Too Good To Go is on a mission to place the lost value back onto food as something that should be eaten and not thrown away. Through their app Too Good To Go is raising awareness of food waste by making surplus restaurant food available for collection before a restaurant closes its breakfast, lunch or dinner service.
The Felix Project collects surplus food from food suppliers and distributes it to local charities around London, so they can provide healthy meals for their clients.
Feedback is an environmental organisation that campaigns to end food waste at every level of the food system. Their flagship event, Feeding the 5000, launched in 2009 in London’s Trafalgar Square serving 5000 meals from food that would otherwise go to waste.
FoodCycle is a national charity that combines volunteers, surplus food and spare kitchen spaces to create tasty, nutritious meals for people at risk of food poverty and social isolation. They run over 29 projects across the UK, united by the simple idea that food waste and food poverty should not coexist.
And the fruits of their labour are paying off! According to WRAP, between 2007 and 2012 the amount of food wasted in the UK reduced by 21%. There’s still a lot more work to be done, but it’s an encouraging number.
If you’re keen to take action on food waste why not start by joining our Disco Soup? There will lots of information on what you can do to reduce your own household food waste plus the chance to connect with local food waste organisations. We hope to see you there!