As the sustainability ambassador for Daylesford Organic I aim to get the London stores to be as sustainable as possible. We at Daylesford try to keep all kinds of waste to an absolute bare minimum. From the way we grow our food, harvest it, and serve it in our restaurants, making use of as much of the animal or vegetable that we can – but sometimes, waste cannot be avoided and in those instances we donate whatever surplus food we have to The Felix Project.
When I first came across this charity from reading an article on their website I was moved by the life of their son Felix, and what a loving, kind and compassionate young man he was.
We started giving regular donations of surplus food to The Felix Project; whenever we had things that we couldn’t sell or use, we made sure it went to them. Last year the General Manager of our Pimlico store had the idea to donate a huge amount of fresh eggs that were left unsold before we closed for Easter.
We even had an amount of Manuka honey that we donated to The Felix Project this year. It was a large quantity that had gone past its best before date, which is still perfectly edible but unsaleable. They managed to share it out amongst a lot of people by dividing it into 300 small containers. As one of the volunteers handed a pot to one of the homeless people in the shelter, he said:
“I feel so grateful to be getting this honey, I honestly never thought I’d get to try any food from such a smart shop like Daylesford, let alone their Manuka honey. Thank you.”
When I was relayed this story from one of the volunteers, it inspired me again, and made me fully realise the enormous positive impact The Felix Project’s tireless work fighting to end food waste is having.
We came up with the idea of Daylesford donating a pound every time someone bought either of our two most popular items. This was done to coincide with London Food Month when lots of other restaurants were doing similar things to raise money, and Daylesford managed to raise a total of over £1800.
Feeling pleased with the results, and buoyed by the success of the campaign, I decided to become more involved personally. During conversations with Justin and Michael from The Felix Project we agreed on the idea of a Notting Hill area evening collection.
On the night of the trial run, one of the places we went to was Gail’s Bakery on Portobello road, where the manager said we could take everything that had been freshly baked that day. There were some pastries, brownies, loaves of sourdough and other delicious treats; which The Felix Project redistribute amongst local charities who help the homeless, disadvantaged and vulnerable. It felt full of gratitude that there were places like Gail’s, taking part in this and joining hands with The Felix Project in the fight against food waste.
Also on route that evening were Paul, Planet Organic, Eat and Bodyism. All of these stores gave us some food that would have otherwise been wasted which we then redistributed to local charities. It was an excellent first run and a great success.
Once that was up and running, I offered to help out on Sundays with the weekly WholeFoods collection. I have always loved WholeFoods, the vast selection of healthy food that you can’t really get anywhere else; the sheer size of the place and how it’s filled with nutritious, delicious goods. Now the fact that they are donating their surplus food regularly to The Felix Project, makes me love them even more!
Having collected the WholeFoods donation, Justin and I sort it out, allocating certain items to particular charities as they all need various things and can utilise some more than others. We then go to Our Lady
Of Victories Catholic Church on High Street Kensington where they have a coffee meeting after their Sunday service and are always grateful for any fresh sandwiches, cakes, and pastries for the parishioners.
Next we go to St Cuthbert’s centre in Earls Court. They cook meals there for those from a disadvantaged background. We give them things like vegetables, loaves of bread and other ingredients.
From there it’s onwards to The Rugby Centre Portobello, sadly located in the shadow of Grenfell Tower and currently beset with the additional problems of the victims of the fire. These three drop-offs, on Sundays alone, are making a vital difference to those that need it in the local west London community.
A new depot will be opening soon in North London (Enfield). To ensure The Felix Project continues to grow and expand its fight against food waste across the whole of London – it needs volunteers. So, if helping out is something you feel you would enjoy doing and have even just a few hours to spare each week, please get in touch with The Felix Project at http://www.thefelixproject.org