Reducing food waste and food poverty at local level
Food in Community (FiC) is a social enterprise. The initial problems identified were how to reduce food waste and at the same time tackle food poverty and reduce social isolation in a local community. Food in Community adresses food waste and food poverty via three well established protocols:
• Charity veg box delivery scheme distributing surplus, unwanted fresh vegetables and fruit
• Gleaning post-harvest, and gluts of unwanted crops directly from the farmers field
• A monthly ‘Pay What You Feel’ lunch café, freshly prepared menu from surplus, and short dated produce
• An artisan stock making enterprise in development, using surplus vegetables, including material such as outer leaves that are usually discarded.
Suppliers are: Riverford Organic, South Devon Organic Producers, Tideford Organic, The Almond Thief, Seeds Bakery, Homeless in Teignbridge, Sky Sprouts, Luscombes Organic, Morrisons Totnes.
Volunteers are 20 regular and a further 30 more occasional.
Recipients are: Vulnerable adult groups (5), Children’s charities (3), Food banks (4), Schools and special schools (6), Food distribution volunteers (5), Fund raising events annually (2), Supporting Vulnerable Families (8), the general public through events such as Monthly Pay What You Feel Cafes, workshops and stalls at public events.
FiC is well networked with other organisations across the South Hams and is building networks across the food waste sector. Some of the suppliers have partnership at regional level.
Volunteering, leadership, engagement, community support
Evidence of success
At a glance:
- 50 tonnes of fresh vegs and fruit/year are rescued and repurposed for human consumption that would otherwise have been discarded. School meal provision in local primary schools has improved in quality.
- In 2017 Food in Community has doubled its veg box scheme capacity and increasing the number of field gleans.
Potential for learning or transfer
Food in Community intercepts food waste at production by re-purposing food that would have otherwise been wasted. Cookery workshops are a service that can help reduce food waste by end users by providing them with recipe ideas and techniques for using commonly wasted food items. The project has gradually grown over the four years that Food in Community has been in existence and this model is financially sustainable as a volunteer led social enterprise. In the next phase Food in Community is scaling up their veg box scheme to meet demand locally and they are developing a stock making enterprise that will generate revenue and create paid employment, which is a critical need locally. This business model is unique in that working in a fairly small geographical area (population 85,000) allows them to create stronger relationships with suppliers, customers and volunteers. They envisage that their model could be adopted in other locations.