Friday, 20 January 2017

Of food waste, food banks and food boxes

On the front page of its latest weekly newsletter, Waitrose features a piece on its efforts over food waste:
Surplus food & food waste disposal

This coincides purely unintentionally of course with the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee asking food retailers what they intend to do to reduce food waste: 
Supermarkets grilled by MPs on food waste | News | Materials Recycling World
MPs question retailers over food waste action - letsrecycle.com

Supermarkets under fire from MPs for failing to drop wasteful Buy One Get One Free deals on fresh food 

  • Stores boasted of getting rid of BOGOF deals on products that will soon go off
  • But MPs said deals are still being promoted on supermarket websites
  • Supermarkets insist they have made great strides in reducing food waste 
The stores insist they have made great strides in reducing food waste and ensuring more fresh produce is distributed to charities and food banks.
However, an official study published last week found household food waste has risen by 300,000 tonnes a year between 2012 and 2015, taking it up to 7.3m tonnes a year.  

Supermarkets failing to drop Buy One Get One Free deals | Daily Mail Online

Meanwhile, there have been other initiatives happening in the West Country:
Hugh's War on Waste | River Cottage
The Bristol Skipchen | Facebook

Real junk food: Bristol cafe serves up food saved from supermarket rubbish bins

From the skip to your plate: A non-for-profit cafe wants to raise awareness about the "crazy" amount of food waste in Britain

A lunchtime snack made out of ingredients saved from a skip may not sound very appetising, but a Bristol cafe is proving the opposite.
Skipchen, a non-for-profit cafe, serves up food past its sell-by date and dumped in supermarket and restaurant bins.
A team of volunteers go out every night searching through skips for any food waste that can be turned into a meal.

Real junk food: Bristol cafe serves up food saved from supermarket rubbish bins - Telegraph

The Baffler magazine has taken us to Athens where the Skipchen has been at work:

Opening Doors | Sophie Weiner

Meanwhile, in East Devon:

Colyton students’ record breaking foodbank collection - News - Midweek Herald

The Sid Valley Food Bank

Sidmouth and the surrounding villages in east Devon are, in general, prosperous areas. But occasionally some people find themselves without food or the money to buy food.

The Food Bank was set up by local churches to help in times of crisis by distributing much needed provisions. Local Supermarkets Waitrose, Co-op, Tesco and Sidford Spar kindly support this initiative by providing collection points for food donations

    Lois – Manager

News from Lois 13th January

It’s an up and down start to the new year; last week week we had eleven clients, this week only six. Not many organisations regard fewer clients as good news, but ours does. It means people are financially secure enough to feed themselves.
There remains homeless people in our area and beyond. Churches in Britain and Ireland are recognising the 22nd January as Homeless Sunday to give this issue wider publicity and to consider practical steps to alleviate the problem.

Sid Valley Food Bank

An alternative 'charitable' action is happening in the States:

"Little Free Pantries" Are the Latest Innovation in Private Charity

Annie Holmquist
By now, we’ve all heard of the little free libraries proliferating across America. In all likelihood, one has even popped up in your own neighborhood, driven by a love of reading and an eagerness to give unwanted materials a second life.
But the little free library idea has spawned more than a love of reading. According to NPR, the concept now has a spinoff with the little free food pantry, otherwise known as a “blessing box” to one of its proponents, Maggie Ballard. NPR reports:
“The bright red box is about 2 feet wide and is mounted on a post near the street. Ballard and her son check on it every day and restock as needed.
‘My son is 6 years old, so it gives him a little chore to kind of watch it and see what comes and goes and who comes and goes, and maybe learn a little lesson from it,’ she says.
There's a door on the front of the box but no lock, so anyone can take what they need 24-7. In the beginning, Ballard was providing all of the food. Then word spread and donations from the community starting [sic] pouring in.”
According to NPR, the idea originated with Jessica McClard of Arkansas, who attributes the popularity of the miniature food pantries to the ease with which they allow people to help their neighbor.
"Little Free Pantries" Are the Latest Innovation in Private Charity | Foundation for Economic Education

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