FoodCycle Stand Up for Sustainability: ‘No Good Food is Wasted’

Surplus Food – Where Does It All Go?!

Ever wondered what happens to all that extra grub on the crammed aisles of Tesco and Waitrose?.. Well FoodCycle has one of the answers. Every week, volunteers at each of their Hubs across the country visit local stores – including Planet Organic, Sainsbury’s and farmers’ markets – to rescue surplus food otherwise destined for the rubbish bins. They take these ingredients to a ‘spare kitchen space’ and transform them into nutritious three-course meals for guests at risk of food poverty and social isolation. Everyone is welcome and all meals are shared together with warmth and dignity. Since the savvy savers started cooking in 2009, FoodCycle has expanded to over 19 volunteer-powered community projects across the UK. Their national network of over 1,200 dedicated volunteers has served over 102,000 meals made from 119,000 kg food that would have otherwise gone to waste.

The Volunteers

But who are these food-friendly fiends? On behalf of Finders Eaters, I ventured out to find these people, and learn who they are and just what’s inspired them. Libby and Steven are two of those at the core of this big-hearted enterprise: “We don’t waste food, and this is an important thing for FoodCycle – but even more than that is what we choose to do with the food we collect” Libby explains. “One of the FoodCycle’s biggest missions is continually working towards reducing food poverty and social isolation by serving healthy meals to some of these groups, who we believe are among the most vulnerable. This is one of the reasons we’re taking part in the Breadline Challenge, to raise awareness about these kind of social problems” As its name teases, The FoodCycle’s new initiative ‘The Breadline Challenge’ (launched yesterday and continuing until Sunday 30th November) asks supporters to live from a food and drink budget toeing the line at £2.10 a day. Money is raised from participants then donating the money they would otherwise have spent on food, which Steven claims will be enough for the chairty to serve around 100 meals for those struggling to find a hot dinner.

‘Now this doesn’t mean walking to work,’ Libby assures those wishing to take part. ‘The figure we gave only applies to food and drink so it’s do-able, definitely, but the fact that it is a real challenge doing it for a week shows how hard it is for those people who have to do it in reality all of the time. In fact many of the people we work with and support at FoodCycle would be living on this, and much less.’ So how have volunteers been faring this week, and just how easy is it to stay healthy?

Is the challenge REALLY that simple?

Finders Eaters asks the people behind it all!

I’ve really enjoyed some meals, but the diet gets very similar very quickly…I must admit there’s a lot of porridge and grey risotto – that’s what happens when you get to the supermarket to find that a bag of frozen chips is the same price as two apples – Libby

‘There really are a lot of carbs required to do it’ Steven admits, ‘and you quickly realise the cheapest things are not the most healthy things. There’s a lot of bread, rice pasta’ The pair highlighted how hard it is for real people who face this reality to get hold of a nutritious meal, and why it is so frustrating to see so much abandoned surplus fresh produce on the aisles.

‘If we stop wasting food, not only do we save more money, but the food gets to the people who really need it – and on an environmental level – it’s the same as taking one in four cars off the road in terms of Carbon Dioxide emissions.’

Feeling Inspired?

The FoodCycle will be taking a festive turn this December! Don your Santa suit for a 5km charity run this Christmas – Two events will be held on Sunday 7th December in London and Liverpool to give participants the chance to run food waste out of the building!

Even my sister’s doing it – I’m so excited, it’s just a really fun morning when everyone gets together and has a laugh, and hopefully goes home and tells their friends about how we should all stop wasting food and start Food Cycling – Libby

Get Stuck In! @foodcycle – Full Audio Interview Here:

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