As austerity measures bite and the Condems seem to be trying to do away with the welfare state altogether and just leave us all to starve I like many others have been forced to use food banks and places that serve hot meals to those who have fallen on hard times. My local place in Ryde on the Isle Of Wight is called "The Open Arms" and takes place in the local methodist church hall (Garfield Road) once a week on a Sunday evening. The provide food for the homeless and for hungry people who are short of money for whatever reason.
I have become friends with those that organise the proceedings there and learned how they get the food they serve. Most of it is donated by local business's but so far big supermarkets have refused to donate the surplus food that they actually throw away despite it still being fit for consumption.
The Food waste facts are grim, an estimated 400,000 tonnes of food according to food cycle could be reclaimed from retailers every year if they would just hand it over. Sadly in our experience only small local businesses with a social conscience have actually given us anything, large retailers like Tesco and Iceland refuse to give us the food they would otherwise throw away.
Right now I am roasting carrots and potatoes and making carrot and potato soup out of surplus vegetables kindly given to me by the folk at open arms that would otherwise have been thrown away. They were donated by the local farmers market I believe. There are still some left I didn't have the time to chop so I'll be making more tomorrow. It infuriates me and many others that so much food is wasted while people starve, and here are two campaigns you can join if you feel similarly angry at this and want to fight for food waste prevention.
Food Cycle collect surplus food and cook it for the disadvantaged at several hubs around the country, sadly they aren't going to open anymore hubs but check if there is one near you you could volunteer at if you are interested.
Feed The 5000 Invite you to sign a pledge to reduce your own food waste and encourage businesses to do the same. And also run a great scheme where farmers allow volunteers to go in and harvest crops that would otherwise be re-plowed into the soil as they are surplus or not cosmetically good enough to be sold in shops.This kind of eco food recycling and reclaiming is great and we are looking into doing this on the Island too.
Finished the soup and roasted veg by the way, smells lovely, and to think it would have all just been thrown away if no one claimed it!