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Food Waste - New Sarum Viewpoint

I don’t normally spend much time watching TV, however I did spend a very useful hour the other evening catching up on an episode of the BBC One’s series Shop well for the Planet (Thursdays 8.00pm). I found it a very insightful programme and one of the items I thought was particularly relevant at this approaching time of year, namely food waste. Co-incidentally I saw a post this morning from a WI member on a Facebook page regarding fast approaching Christmas, which also prompted me to write this. As she said "Isn’t Christmas dinner itself just another form of Sunday roast?"

Many shops are only shut these days for Christmas day itself (don’t you just pity the shop staff?). Yet we are presented for weeks beforehand with endless advertisements on TV and in the press trying to persuade us to stock up and buy all these fancy items of food to make the occasion special. Does it really make it any more special? Or do we find that once again we have gone mad with the shopping and end up with a fridge/freezer/cupboard full of food that we didn’t really need to buy. Hopefully we can all make use of it in one way or another, but I imagine that much of our annual food waste, estimated at currently 9.52 million tonnes in the UK, is generated at this time of year. That shocking amount of food waste could fill 190 Royal Albert Halls and is responsible for emitting 25 million tonnes of CO2e into the atmosphere. Although the UK has cut down on it’s food waste in recent years we still throw away an astounding amount of edible food. Households cause 70% of the UK’s food waste, throwing away 6.6 million tonnes of food, of which 4.5 million tonnes was edible. Food waste at home is something that we as individuals can do something about, but what about supermarket food waste?

New Sarum WI invited Fiona Ollerhead to be our guest speaker earlier this year. She represents the Pantry Partnership, a local organisation that creates delicious and nutritious meals from next to nothing – using perfectly good (but very fresh) surplus food that would otherwise go to waste, and shares them across the community. As she says “We have volunteers who help us grow and prepare food; we collect surplus from local shops and farmers; and we serve great quality, great value meals across out community. Last but not least, we share our cooking skills through workshops and courses. In a nutshell, we’re all about doing good with food”.

In addition to a donation to the organisation, NSWI has paid to twin our pantry with another in Ghana. This process will provide an eco-friendly charcoal oven for a family in need and with it the ability to sustainably feed themselves.

If you are interested in knowing more about this organisation, please visit their website

So this year I am even more determined not to ‘go overboard’ with the food shopping as my husband says! Don’t forget, if by any chance you do have any surplus food at any time, you can always consider giving it to your local community fridge. These fridges are popping up all over the place and they are there for you to both donate food and take it for your own use. A great solution to avoid waste and help others in the process!

Seasons greetings to you all.

- Submitted by Sue Luther, President New Sarum WI


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