20 tonnes of Bananas rescued by UKHarvest and enjoyed by local students 

Have you ever wondered what 20 tonnes of bananas looks like? Sussex based food rescue and redistribution charity, UKHarvest have recently found out, having rescued a huge donation of bananas from going to landfill. Through careful logistics and planning, not only have the charity prevented these bananas from going to waste, but they have engaged with local schools and donated them all opening opportunities for exciting and engaging learning across the region. 

Food waste in the UK is at an all-time high, with the largest amount coming directly from the home. UKHarvest, along with the incredible 20 tonnes of bananas, have played an important role in helping students in the Chichester area understand not only the importance of ensuring that food waste is reduced, but also how perfectly edible food that would have gone in the bin can be redistributed, eaten and enjoyed. James Swann, Programme Manager at UKHarvest was instrumental in organising the distribution of the bananas to local schools. ‘The huge donation of bananas was always going to be challenging. We felt that it could be a powerful tool for schools to receive the bananas and use them within the school setting as well as taking them home to encourage further discussions and awareness of the impact of food waste, both socially and environmentally.’ 

Birdham CofE Primary School dedicated an entire day to the banana donation. The students and staff dressed up as minions, and each class enjoyed cooking, arts and crafts and learning using the banana donation. This tied in beautifully with the beginning of the school’s fairtrade fortnight, showcasing the importance of preventing food waste, but also allowing the students to explore how the ingredient could be used in cooking, and ways to prevent any edible food from being wasted. 

Children from each class cooked their own dish, from banana splits to oat and banana cookies and engaged with parents and carers at the end of the day sharing the fabulous food created from a product that would have been thrown away. Martha in year 5 said ‘We dressed up as minions for the day, because they are yellow, and spent our lessons cooking in groups and tasting our banana cakes. We’ve had so much fun. My mum’s taken load of the bananas home and is going to freeze them to make smoothies for us!’. 

Deputy Headteacher, Emily Ellis was thrilled with the donation saying ‘We would like to thank UKHarvest for their generous donation. Not only are we pleased to be part of the charity’s work to reduce food waste, but we were able to create some imaginative learning opportunities for our children as well as providing healthy and nutritious snacks for them to enjoy in school and share with their households.’ 

St Joseph’s CE Junior School in Chichester also received a generous donation of bananas, enabling a fantastic learning experience for the students where they discovered how preventing food waste can help everyone in their school community. 

In response to the generous donation, students took home plenty of bananas. They enjoyed baking banana bread, making banana ice cream, adding bananas to smoothies, making fruit salads and taking the surplus bananas back to school for snacks.   

Felicity aged 7 said, "Receiving all those bananas was such a surprise! Everyone was able to take home as many bananas as they could fit in their bags! It was so much fun, and it made us appreciate the how great it is to save food from landfill." 

Mrs Koiston, Headteacher said, "The donation of bananas has been incredible for our school. Beyond the joy it brought to the students, it provided us with an opportunity to talk about food waste, how some children don't have enough to eat, and touch upon the cost-of-living crisis and how this affects our community. Parents were really grateful. We hope to continue our work with UKHarvest by distributing more food in the future." 

Having received an enormous 216kgs of bananas, St Richard's Primary School in Chichester used the bananas to run an assembly, and on-going in-class discussions about the importance of rescuing surplus food and making sure it doesn't go to waste. Any bananas left at the end of the day were taken home by school families. School finished at 3.10pm, but 3.15pm the bananas had all found new homes with the children and their households.   

Children of Golden Eagle class at Birdham School sharing their banana creations and showing off their minion outfits. 

St Richard's students handing out bananas to family and friends to take home.