29 September is International Day of Awareness on Food Loss and Waste Reduction. Food loss and wastage are of growing concern to us as an organisation. We work with some of the most disadvantaged communities in the world, and within these communities’ individuals regularly struggle to ensure they and their families have access to regular, let alone, healthy meals.
For most of us in the West, we have lived a life where we’ve had abundant access to a wide variety of food at extremely affordable prices. As a consequence of this, it is felt that we don’t truly appreciate the true value of food, it is easy to waste as it’s easy to replace. Research shows that at home we each waste around 74kg of food per year (United Nations Environment Programme (2021). Food Waste Index Report 2021. Nairobi.)
This waste has enormous consequences for the planet. When food is wasted, all the resources that went into producing it also go to waste. This includes water, energy, land, and labour. Disposal of waste also contributes to the release of greenhouse gases and damage to our environment. As we’ve pointed out before, those with the least are the ones who will feel the effects of the climate emergency first and worst.
As an organisation we are already exploring how we can reduce the amount of food waste we create. Our sister social enterprise, Ramekin and Rolling Pin community kitchen is operating on a zero-waste basis, and they’re working with local retailers to take on surplus food, which is being used in our cookery workshops. It’s a small but important step towards reducing the environmental impact of the work we do, whilst ensuring the communities and individuals we work with have fair access to healthy, cost-effective meals.
We all have a role we can play in working towards a world without hunger and malnutrition. By respecting food, buying only what we need and wasting less, we can show compassion and solidarity for those who often go without. Everyone of us can work towards a better future.