Today, a study from Wrap, Food waste in primary production in the UK, highlights that more than £1bn of food is thrown away or fed to animals before it leaves farms every year. This is 3.6m tonnes of wasted food, including 2m tonnes of edible surplus that does not make it to a retailer or other intended buyers.
Peter Maddox, the director of Wrap, quoted in The Guardian’s article about the report, said the government-backed body’s detailed study had helped identify key sources of waste.
“There is huge potential to reduce the amount of surplus and waste by promoting best practice, and that’s where our work is now focused. We want to increase redistribution of surplus food as has happened across the retail sector,” Maddox said.
Maddox said Wrap would assist industry with resolving the issue, including a network to connect farmers and small-scale producers to identify new outlets for surplus food, including charities.
The UK's Gleaning Network engages local communities to rescue food
The Felix Project has been working with Gleaning Kent, part of the UK Gleaning Network that saves surplus, out-graded and uneconomic-to-harvest produce from farms. They engage local communities in the harvesting activities. In total the UK-wide Gleaning Network has rescued over 400 tonnes of fresh produce from waste and donated it to organisations feeding vulnerable people.
Carrie Eeeles, Kent Gleaning Network coordinator said, “We have been collaborating on gleans across Kent with Felix, and in 2018 this relationship enabled us to rescue more produce than ever before. Over 70 tonnes of fresh fruit and vegetables grown in Kent that would otherwise have gone to waste from across the regions farms was redistributed within the communities which need it most.”
We have all of the resources to help the food business distribute unwanted but edible food to those in need, so if you are a farmer, a wholesaler, distribution center, or shop please contact us here.
London-based volunteers get involved in gleaning on farms in Kent
“Not only has our collaboration with Felix enabled us to save more produce from waste, it has also helped widen the dialogue on why this produce is wasted in the first place,” added Carrie.
“Felix not only collect produce from our gleaning days, they actively encourage groups of their volunteers to get involved with the gleaning and harvesting process which increases the range and number of people experiencing farm-based food waste first hand.
“Thanks to the experiences of these volunteers and the dialogue between Felix and the groups they provide food to, we have been able to widen the discussion and awareness on key factors contributing to UK farm food waste such as overly strict cosmetic standards, cheap imported produce and seasonal gluts. Due to the geographical location that Felix operates within, this enables us to reach communities located beyond our existing (Kent based) volunteer network.
“We hope very much to continue working with Felix through 2019 and beyond. Thanks to this collaboration we are able to share and document the narrative of Kent's 'unloved' produce all the way from farm to fork which benefits all those involved and is a highly effective way of raises awareness of some of the key issues contributing to UK food waste.”
Shout out for volunteers to save food for charities and schools across London
The Felix Project love welcoming new volunteers to help us on gleans and collecting surplus food from 165 suppliers, including supermarkets, wholesalers and delis. This year, we will deliver food to more than 280 London charities and primary schools, which is enough to make almost five million meals.
We have volunteering opportunities for drivers, co-drivers, walkers, cyclists and warehouse assistants. If you have a few hours to spare for a morning, afternoon or evening, we’d love to hear from you!
If you're interested in helping us deliver good food that would otherwise go to waste to some of the most deserving causes, then sign up here.