Food for thought – wonky veg

Feeding the 5000 at Trafalgar Square at lunchtime today

Facts about food waste
* UK households waste 25% of all food bought
* Around 20 to 40% of UK fruit + veg is rejected before reaching the shops – mostly for not matching the supermarkets’ strict cosmetic standards
* An estimated 20 million tonnes of food wasted in the UK from the plough to the plate
* 43 million people in the EU, 35 million in the US and 4 million in the UK suffer from food poverty
* The UK, US and Europe have nearly twice as much food as is required by the nutritional needs of their populations
– Up to half the entire food supply is wasted between the farm and the fork
– If crops wastefully fed to livestock are included, European countries have over three times more food than they need
* All the world’s circa one billion hungry people could be lifted out of malnourishment on less than ¼ of food that is wasted in the US, UK and Europe
* 2.3 million tonnes of fish discarded in the North Atlantic and the North Sea each year; 40 to 60% of all fish caught in Europe are discarded – either because they are the wrong size, species, or because of the ill-governed European quota system


Who says? And how did I get this info?

Well, I sprinted to Trafalgar Square at lunchtime today to see what the Feeding the 5000 campaign was all about.

It was quite literally that: 5000 portions of veggie curry being given out, free. All made from ingredients that would otherwise have been wasted: surplus food saved from going to food mountains; vegetables rejected due to being the ‘wrong’ shape.

Thankfully, there was a continuous line of people taking up the offer – it seemed very well received (judging by all of the scraped-empty dishes) and smelled gorgeous.

Curry made from food that would have been wasted

Lunch munchers – veggie curry proves popular at Trafalgar Square

A team was on stage in a makeshift kitchen demo-ing cooking with wonky butternut squash, talking through some of the facts above, while volunteer martials distributed flyers and enlightened satisfied munchers of the campaign’s aim which is “to highlight the ease of cutting the unimaginable levels of food waste in the UK and internationally”.

Cooking with wonky vegetables

Ok, so the facts might be shocking, even embarrassing. As a nation, we waste far, far too much food. But how can this wastage be reduced and what’s it got to do with me? It’s not my responsibility is it? …is it? Can I really help to change things?

Maybe we can, collectively. By reducing the amount of food we – as consumers – waste. By recycling more. By composting. And realising what the organisations listed below are doing, not only to raise awareness in general (educating us all is a good thing) but claiming back perfectly good, surplus food that would otherwise go to food mountains and instead feeding those in need.

Food for thought indeed.

More info / useful links:
~ This event’s facebook page

~ FareShare – UK charity fighting hunger, tackling food waste

~ FoodCycle – UK charity, encouraging local communities to set up groups of volunteers to collect surplus produce locally and prepare nutritious meals in unused professional kitchen spaces, with delicious meals then being served to those in need

~ Feeding 5k on Twitter

~ Love food hate waste – campaign by WRAP (government funded) encouraging us all to to be more efficient in our use of materials and recycle more often

~ More of Feeding 5k’s partners

~The Sun supports Fight the wonky veg mountains!

~ *Victory* for wobbly veg Waitrose brings back ugly veg

~ Oliver Rowe’s demo: cooking with butternut squash