07 February 2024
A London food charity has delved into the world of juicing for the first time after creating its own apple juice.
The Felix Project has made over 20,000 bottles of juice from apples they rescued last year from a farm in Kent. The farmer, Peter Hall, realised he was set to lose tens of thousands of pounds selling his crop to retailers, so rather than pulling up the trees, he generously donated the entire orchard to the charity.
Between August and October 2023, 1,008 volunteers went to the site near Marden four days a week. In total they picked 2.1 tonnes of plums, 49.9 tonnes of pears and 23.3 tonnes of apples. The fruit was collected by Amazon vans and delivered to The Felix Project’s depots in London. It was then distributed to hundreds of primary schools and community organisations supporting those experiencing food insecurity.
In addition, 36 tonnes of apples were collected that were not suitable for eating, but instead of being thrown away, Felix worked with a Kent juicer to extend the life of the fruit. Richard Smith, Head of Food Supply, explains:
“We know how much of a huge need there is amongst the community organisations we work with, we recently found 89% of the charities we support are expecting to see an increase in demand in 2024, It means they are all desperate for more supplies. The Felix Project does all it can to stop edible food from being wasted, and while these apples were not quite good enough for eating, we knew if we were clever we could still use them. Turning them into a delicious and healthy drink is an innovative way to prevent food waste and we hope this will be the first of many techniques we look at to ensure more good food ends up helping people struggling with the cost of living.”
In total 22,250 bottles of the apple juice have been delivered across the four Felix depots so charities across all London boroughs can receive a share. The first deliveries to local community organisations took place this week and the first charity to receive it was Laurence’s Larder in North London. The charity supports over 200 people each week, offering a free grocery service on a Tuesday and a healthy two course lunch on a Wednesday. Sara-Jane Hussein runs the services and said: “At Laurence’s Larder we’ve noticed more families are using our food aid service, and they particularly love receiving fruit and veg from the Felix Project. They’re so excited to have lovely fresh apple juice to give their children, as sadly fresh juice can feel like an unaffordable luxury at the moment, so this will be an amazing treat for the kids.”
A lot of the juice, which has a shelf life of 12 months, will be given out during the upcoming school half term and will enable thousands of children to have access to a healthy fruit drink during holiday and food programmes.