Food waste

31/03/2017 0 Comment(s) Environment,Farm News,Our Charity Partners,
My parents generation wasted very little, it is amazing how times have changed in the space of 30 years. There was less processed food back then, there was more time to invest in cooking, the food was simpler, there was less availability of imported exotic ingredients, food was practical.
There were plenty of one pot stews put together by my mum, she had a budget and had to make it stretch to feed us, and if it wasn't finished in the first day it was generally eaten the second day. She worked hard to make healthy food for us, she wasted very little, in spite of having four children that didn't always appreciate what they were given!
Now having kids of my own I understand...
Last week I met with Helen Finnegan from Food Cloud Hubs. They are an amazing social movement redistributing surplus food from the retail food sector to charities. Without their service much of the food they save would end up in the back of a waste food truck destined for compost and landfill.
One third of all food produced for human consumption is wasted, about 1.3 billion tonnes annually!
Every year, consumers in rich countries waste almost as much food (222 million tonnes) as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa (230 million tonnes). 
World hunger could be vastly reduced if we were better able to redistribute the food that we waste to those in most need.
As a producer and a buyer of fresh produce we have food waste. Every week we grade out produce we cannot sell to our customers. 
This goes to multiple sources, it is used by ourselves and the team who work at the farm. It is left to take for free for customers visiting our farm shop. 
My mum calls nearly every day, she takes some of the food to COPE and other charities, she does it because she can't stand to see food wasted.  Finally anything that is left, John Tedders takes and feeds to the hens that produce the organic eggs we sell.
We have more complex supply chains now, centralised distibution centres and we have as consumers become conditioned to choose only blemish free shiny veg, supermarket culture has brought us here. 
We like the idea of accepting wonky veg, but if we are honest with ourselves when we walk into the supermarket it is very difficult to reach for anything but the best produce. I have done it many times, handling, looking, checking and finally taking the freshest best looking stuff, but if I don't choose the slightly weird looking pepper then quite probably neither will anybody else and it will eventually go to waste.
The "wonky veg" campaign ran in many supermarket stores seems to have run out of steam. 
Supermarkets set specifications for size for colour and if they aren't met then the produce is rejected, simple as that. 
But if they are rejected then that is where Helen and the good people at Food Cloud hubs come in, they have built an infrastructure to get this food to people who need it.
Some days it feels like Helen's job of convincing big business to revise their food waste policy might be easier that trying to convince my three year old to eat his dinner when he has decided he doesn't want to!
Here's to a little less food waste everyday.