We were thrilled to receive Dexam’s wheat fibre measuring cups. These were a fabulous way to support our latest six week food education programme as all our recipes were converted into cup measurements to avoid the need for weighing scales, which ensured everyone could participate using them from home. This format is something we are hoping to repeat again with different groups throughout this year and what better way than educating about food waste using cups produced from farming waste!
As a food rescue charity our number one aim at UKHarvest is to avoid food waste by collecting surplus food from the supply chain that would otherwise go to landfill. The food comes in many forms; direct from producers with cancelled orders, or their wonky fruit and veg, via wholesalers and supermarkets sometimes with short best before dates, donations in store, and even from cruise ships cancelled due to Covid.
The food we rescue is then packed by volunteers and re-distributed from our warehouse in Chichester, delivered in our refrigerated vans to approx. 180 charities in and around Sussex/Hampshire each week. We support homeless shelters, women’s refuges, foodbanks and more recently during this lockdown we have topped up local schools with vulnerable children, by adding a weekly delivery of healthy and nutritious fresh fruit and vegetables to those families who really need it.
Whilst we rescue food in the supply chain, almost 70% of food waste, happens at home. We therefore run a series of education programmes to increase awareness of how to reduce waste, store food better, eat healthily whilst also saving money. We use the food we deliver as a way of engaging with people to help increase their confidence in using fresh and new ingredients. The education programmes are often sponsored by businesses, councils and/or The Princes Trust to ensure we reach those who would really benefit from learning some fundamental cooking skills.
When Covid and Lockdown first hit back in March the work that UKHarvest were already doing, suddenly doubled overnight! Demand for food went through the roof, disruption in food supply meant we were flat out collecting and re-distributing food to an increasing number of charities. We are lucky enough to receive some funding from the National Lottery and other grants but we rely on a dedicated team of staff and an army of loyal volunteers. However this latest lockdown has added further pressure on the hardworking team, we are committed to keeping the site operational due to the ever increasing demand for our food, but have suspended all volunteers at the moment to limit the numbers on site.
As a charity, we believe that we are stronger through partnerships so have joined with a number of food brands to collaborate on raising awareness of food waste as a key message in their marketing campaigns. As a nation, it is SO important that we cut our food waste and this is something we can all play a part in, by the way we shop, store and cook our food at home. For more information please go to www.ukharvest.org.uk or follow @ukharvest