Opinion

King Charles III: 'My birthday wish for our people and planet'

Writing exclusively for the Big Issue, King Charles explores the twin problems of food waste and food need – and what we can do to fix them

King Charles in Black and White

The King by Rankin for Big Issue

For many years, I have been deeply concerned about the amount of food which goes to waste across our nation. At every stage of the food production process, millions of tonnes of food are sadly discarded.

That, in itself, is a tragedy. But there is a second part to this equation, and that is the extent to which too many families and individuals are missing out on nutritious meals due to the cost of living pressures that have caused hardship for so many right across the country.

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Food need is as real and urgent a problem as food waste – and if a way could be found to bridge the gap between them, then it would address two problems in one. It is my great hope that this Coronation Food Project will find practical ways to do just that – rescuing more surplus food, and distributing it to those who need it most.

Through supplying commercial fridges and freezers to 800 locations, a significant start has been made, helping food charities across the UK to rescue tonnes of additional fresh and frozen food, every week. This is food that can feed, strengthen and nurture not just individuals, but entire communities.

Together with charity and industry partners, it is planned to do even more, through the creation of regional Food Hubs that will provide the facilities to receive and redistribute surplus food. This endeavour will be joined, I hope, by the enterprise and initiative of other organisations, for whom grants will be made available to support creative solutions that tackle food waste and food need.

To mark my 75th birthday in this Coronation year, I could ask for no greater gift than that the Coronation Food Project creates a lasting legacy to help others – and help the planet.

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