Archives for posts with tag: Food Waste

My friend Charlie Spring is writing a brilliant and hilarious blog-travel-log about her time on a study fellowship in the US. “I’m going to spend the next two months in North America,” she writes, “meeting people who I hope can teach me lessons to bring home [to the UK]: about the entrenchment of food aid under austerity welfare conditions, about going beyond the food bank model, about participatory democracy and citizen involvement in food system decision-making and doing. About food justice, and food injustice.” Eagerly awaiting each new post, I heartily recommend you follow her writings. Here’s just one snippet that will lead you to more.

seekingsitopia

I was in a bad, cynical-feeling place when I got to Rainbow Grocery in the swelter of the day, having seen new dimensions of the homelessness of San Francisco. I felt guilty for entering this cool place of herbs, tonics, plinky music and funky coop members stacking kale chips in polka-dot party dresses, knowing I could afford this food, navigate the wealth of choice on offer. Sort of. Self-service (lots of it) flummoxed me- how much would a handful of decoriated cardamom cost when a pound would cost $50? Gah. You could self serve honey, roasted hazelnut-chocolate butter, tofu, kimchi, vegan chocolate-coated pretzels, pasta, tea, herbs, a million types of granola, dried persimmon, olives. You hold your little compost able bag and open the chute with a knob and gravity sends a landslide of mung beans out over the sides and you try to pull up the sides and once…

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Hugh’s War on Waste and Crowdfunder have created a site where local community food projects working with waste can post fundraising appeals.  There are many and will be more.  You can really get the feeling for a movement developing, and appreciate how hard so many people are working on this problem.

This is place to ask and to give.  UK readers, please add your group, support some others if you can, and share the link:

http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/campaign/hughs-war-on-waste?utm_source=foe&utm_medium=twitter&utm_content=War%20on%20Waste&utm_campaign=campaigns

I am re-blogging this “Kraut-funder” to support and share information about an exciting partnership between fermenters and food rescuers.

OCTOPUS ALCHEMY

Octopus Alchemy are crowdfunding ‘kraut-funding’.

OA Workshop - 15.11.15-35 Fermented ‘Night-Shade Free’ Salsa.

We launched on November 15th and are running the campaign right through until December 13th. The drive is to support an exciting new collaborative project between Octopus Alchemy, Silo and The Real Junk Food Project, Brighton – as well as to boost our workshop experiences with some new kitchen bling and to fund the development of a new online portal for awareness raising and resources.  We want to raise around 4K.

The project is to ‘Transform the City’s Food Waste into Superfood’ for sale. We’re basically going to hoover up surplus veg in the city and engage the community through our current workshops on food / health politics and fermentation in turning it into a lovely fermented product for sale. The proceeds of which will help nourish our mutual projects to continue making an impact on the local food and health…

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Here’s “Man in the Maze,” a short film about Food System problems (hideous) and people-centered solutions (beautiful).  The film is specific to “the geopolitical boundary with the greatest economic disparity in the world” but offers inspiration to people anywhere working hard “to rebuild the food system up from the bottom in a participatory way,” as Gary Paul Nabhan puts it in the interview — “to heal that food system, our economies, our bodies, and the land.”

Thanks to the lovely Charlotte Spring for the recommendation.

For Food System and Food Waste activists, please find linked below a very informative piece on the packing and distribution of vegetables and “surplus,” – a concept itself we might seek to re-imagine. One definitely sees supermarkets having too much market share and therefore power to define the situation in which waste is normalised. I’m all in favour of the middle-scaled ground of wholesaling with its chain through town markets and other smaller grocery venues attracting our customer support (a little different from farmers’ markets per se, which I also support). We need to furthermore be thinking about ethical and local procurement for schools, canteens, care homes etc., and councils can help with this, a level at which hopefully “stakeholders” from various points of view should have influence.

Of course wounds need plasters, and NO ONE SHOULD BE HUNGRY. But let’s be careful how we link food waste with hunger, because causes and effects of both are really complicated. For the moment I don’t give an automatic thumbs up to “solutions” that legislate that supermarkets give waste to charities, as this degrades value for farmers, enshrines waste in the system, and institutionalises a charity approach to hunger — let alone gives a message of shame to people needing social support and help. Food is a right and governments need to recognise this. More on these thoughts soon.

In the meantime, this is a really practical article (and blog in general) to get us thinking.

It’s great that the volume of this conversation keeps rising, at the moment thanks to Hugh’s War On Waste on television, and of course gratitude to all the background work done in food waste salvage from field to skip and community feast events and cafes in saving food and raising awareness.  I also see a great opportunity here in which the often polarised perspectives of farmers and environmentalists can be narrowed, because there’s so much room to work together on shared concerns as we re-localise, or at least, focus on smaller hubs of food production and consumption to reduce waste with all its ecological footprint and ensure value and reward for people who grow food.

systems4food

In my last blog I questioned the volumes of waste or rather surplus produce in the supply chain. I also raised the question why this surplus arises.
The majority of fresh produce in the UK is being grown for supermarket sales, as currently, apart from some relatively small volumes of local or direct sales, they are the only outlets that can handle the volumes required to give an economic return. There are secondary markets which include processing for freezing and manufacturing sectors, catering food service and  finally wholesale outlets. All of these markets have different requirements and what one sector wants is often different to others.
When planning a crop growers usually (almost always) have the end market in mind. The cropping plan, soils, fertiliser regime, pesticides applied, plant spacing, irrigation, harvest and storage conditions all determine the suitability of a product for its end market. Long gone are the…

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FOOD WASTE AND LEFTOVERS ADVICE:

RECONSIDERING TAKEAWAYS, READY-MEALS, GRAVY AND CONVENIENCE FOOD… DEFANCIFYING THE MESSAGE…

Hubbub is a UK organisation using creative, participatory events to reduce domestic food waste.  Two of their projects are on my mind right now. #PumpkinRescue is all about giving Halloween pumpkins a culinary afterlife.  (I hope to take part in a Disco Soup event in Salford; check out events in your area.) #ExpressYourShelf asks people to prepare meals based on what they have on hand, and take “shelfies.”  Here’s what we got up to last year at this time.

Fun.  Meanwhile, the estimable Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is soon coming out with a new book and tv series on leftovers, “all about creating delicious meals from all those bits and bobs that are leftover from the last meal we cooked, ” says he.

Conversations about “leftovers” are everywhere these days, as concern mounts about food waste and its ecological impact, as well as the moral issue of throwing out edible food in light of local and global hunger– all pretty well summarised in the video posted above.  Food waste is a large and multifaceted problem, with domestic waste being one part of that; I like to think that by not wasting food individuals can save money and be empowered to discuss and act on systemic problems too.  Connecting different levels.

On the whole I’m pretty good at not wasting — except when life and work get busy and I lose focus on the shopping/cooking nexus– but that’s the point.  Not wasting in our world of excess and too-muchness requires a focus and becomes a task and priority in itself that needs to be made easier.

So we might have to do things differently. Read the rest of this entry »

Addressing hunger with food-waste might seem like a perfect kill-two-birds-with-one-stone approach to large social-economic problems. I’m not so sure about this and am working on a piece of writing that began around early campaigning in the UK to follow the French lead in legislating supermarket food waste. Haven’t really sorted through my thoughts and critiques yet, but am collecting ideas around this theme. Megan Blake is an academic geographer at University of Sheffield and writes a blog about food justice and hunger, among other issues. This piece I’m now reblogging is a really good beginning, and I’m hoping posting it will help me sort through my own thoughts on this topic. She puts the connection of waste and hunger in the context of neoliberal ideas of the market, and looks at activists seeking to shift the values of the debate from the economic to a social realm.

GeoFoodie

I recently participated in symposium that was considering waste in relation to food.  It was put on as a pre-conference event to the 2015 RGS/IBG meetings held in Exeter. The symposium, which took place on a working farm, was both fascinating and very engaging. You can find out more about the event and its participants on the web site developed by the organisers here.  I encourage you to have a look at the link as you will learn about West Town Farm and the activities of the day. My role at the symposium was to give a short talk around the issue of food waste and neoliberalism.  I chose to use an excellent food re-use project–The Real Junk Food Project–as a mechanism for focusing my questions. I am offering the text of my provocation in what follows.  

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Source: Anaerobic Digestion: Green Gas or Green Wash?

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Upcycle your sprouting potatoes by growing potatoes.  Maybe this is completely obvious to many of you, but doing it last year really drove home this possibility for me.  It was all small-scale — buckets and barrels and nothing too big, but it would be possible on verges and in any space, containers, or ground you might have, at whatever scale is called for.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Mission #pumpkinrescue: Thoughts on the comprehensive culinary flexibility of pumpkin, as well as links on juicing, sprouting, fermenting Harry Potter style and DIY skin treatments… Read the rest of this entry »

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