International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste

UKHarvest’s key objective is to reduce the social and environmental impacts of food waste in the UK. This week (29th September 2023) UKHarvest is marking the 4th International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste, a global call to action by UN and FAO to reduce the amount of food lost and wasted around the world.  

Figures published by Food Foundation state that there has been a steep rise in households experiencing food insecurity from 7.4% in January 2021 to 17% in June 2023. This means that nearly 1/5th of all households in the UK are either eating less food or having days with no food due to lack of money. 

DEFRA’s 2021 Impact Assessment report has taken a deeper look into the UK’s food production and waste. The UK produces 9.6bn tonnes of food waste per year, food that is deemed unfit for sale, however 70% of the food sent to landfill or made into animal feed is still consumable. Yvonne Thomson, UKHarvest’s CEO said “IADFWL aims to raise awareness of how huge the food waste problem is. UKHarvest aims to stop food from going to landfill and ensure it reaches those that need it most. The UN and FAO are working tirelessly to help raise awareness of this enormous problem around the world and we hope that our ongoing efforts ensure that we are playing a large part in that both locally and nationally. 

Since inception, UKHarvest, has rescued over 2500 tonnes of food from going to landfill. The rescued food has been redistributed through our community food hubs, Nourish Hub (our community kitchen in London) and our ongoing relationships with local and national charities. As a result, UKHarvest has stopped more than 9500 tonnes of GHG emissions from being released into the atmosphere, the equivalent amount that would be produced by an aeroplane flying around the world nearly 1500 times! 

In a recent blog post celebrating a pilot collaboration with UKHarvest, James Bardgett, Tangmere Airfield Nurseries’ packhouse head of operations and on behalf of the staff shared that “We are fully aware of the impact that UKHarvest are having on our local community; it has our wholehearted support and admiration.” The ongoing collaborations with local and national producers enable UKHarvest to meet the increasing needs of the community. 

To better meet the needs of the community, UKHarvest have been able to increase the number of monthly, bi-weekly and weekly Community Food Hub locations from 9 to 16, reaching more people than ever before. This is thanks to funding from WSCC and BIFFA. Increasing UKHarvest’s opportunity to engage with those struggling with the impacts of the growing cost-of-living crisis and seeking support from external services. One food hub user, who has asked to remain anonymous, stated that they are “very grateful for the shopping bag of goods I have received (from the community food hub), and for the opportunity to meet with your lovely team and volunteers. They have made me feel welcome and included.” 

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