Environment

A food redistribution social network has delivered its 100,000th meal

Plan Zheroes connects food waste with food charities, and has now supplied 100,000 meals to charities

IMAGES FREE FOR EDITORIAL USE IN CONNECTION WITH STORY PIC: Visitors to the Healthy Living Club enjoy a stew made using surplus food in Stockwell. Borough Market is tackling food waste by redistributing top quality, surplus produce to 30 charities across London; providing meals for those in need. They have been working with zero food waste charity Plan Zheroes since 2014, and June marks the provision of the 100,000th meal for vulnerable Londoners. Over the last year, Borough Market and Plan Zheroes have saved close to 17,000 Kilogrammes of surplus food from going to waste – equivalent to 33,358 meals. Borough Market has contributed funding for Plan Zheroes to co-ordinate the twice-weekly food collections and manage a new ‘Borough Delivers’ scheme. Surplus produce is taken directly from traders and delivered by volunteers on an electric-assisted, zero-emission bike funded by the Evening Standard’s Food for London campaign. This has enabled Borough Market to avoid pollution during delivery and reach charities that are unable to collect the produce themselves. The initiative involves over 40 volunteers each year and 44 traders from Borough Market, with the top 5 contributors (by weight) being: Ted’s Veg, Bread Ahead Bakery & School, Turnips, Olivier’s Bakery and Northfield Farm. Much of the surplus food donated by traders is fruit and vegetables, followed by baked goods, but the market’s recent investment in new storage equipment means that meat, fish and dairy can now also be provided to charities. © Lucy Young 2018 07799118984 lucyyounguk@gmail.com www.lucyyoungphotos.co.uk

A surplus food distributor has celebrated providing its 100,000th meal from London’s Borough Market.

Plan Zheroes is an online food redistribution initiative, connecting food waste leftover from businesses and restaurants that’s still good to eat to the charities who can then distribute the food. This week the organisation was camped out at Borough Market in London, turning food vendors food waste into delicious dinners.

Its milestone meals were distributed to members of the Healthy Living Club – a Lambeth community group for elderly people with dementia. The food is also regularly collected by volunteers and given out to 30 charities in London, including those that support homeless people such as St Mungo’s.

This work is so important, as 8.4 million people, the equivalent of the entire population of London, have uncertain or insufficient access to food in the UK as of 2016. And, in addition to this, only 17,000 tonnes of the 270,000 tonnes of the edible surplus food in the grocery supply chain is redistributed to charities annually.

We want to encourage the food industry to eliminate food waste by making sure that leftover produce can reach those most in need

This needs to change. So, Borough Market is calling on the food industry to focus on assisting charities to make use of surplus produce, through the allocation of suitable storage and dedicated volunteers.

Borough Market managing director Darren Henaghan said: “One of the issues we’re trying to address is the redistribution of this surplus produce – some smaller charities just don’t have the manpower to collect or store food, and we want to encourage the food industry to eliminate food waste by making sure that leftover produce can reach those most in need.”

With Borough Market supplying Plan Zheroes with these much-needed meals for charity, the organisation was able to save close to 17,000 kgs of surplus food from being wasted – the equivalent of 33,358 meals. But Plan Zheroes’ chief executive, Laura Hopper, doesn’t want this to stop with just her initiative. She hopes that, “by sharing the results of this work, more businesses will be encouraged to redistribute their surplus food also”.

Image: Healthy Living Club

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