Yesterday I went to a dinner hosted by FoodCycle. It was not your usual PR dinner: it was staged in the corner of an empty office, the furniture, plates, cutlery were all a random collection of things from charity shops, the cups were Royal Wedding left-overs and most importantly the food was all made up of things that would otherwise have been thrown away.
Each year, the UK food retail industry sends 1.6 million tonnes of food to the landfill. An estimated 25% of this food can be collected to make quality meals. At the same time, there are 4 million people affected by food poverty in the UK.
What we were treated to last night was cheese and (home made) chutney for starters, vegetarian fajitas with all the trimmings for the main and a banana/strawberry/cinnamon cake. And it was all great, and thoroughly tasty and there was no reason why this stuff should be going to waste.
What FoodCycle do on a day to day basis is empower people to start their own projects, where surplus food and idle kitchen spaces can be brought together to provide good meals for people affected by food poverty. By doing this waste to landfill is reduced, people who might not get a nutritious meal get one and a community can come together to help itself.
I thought it was really inspirational what FoodCycle are doing, both from an environmental and a social perspective. And I think that is really important, if you look at just one and not the other, you risk setting yourself up for failure.