green chili and red chili peppers
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

It’s incredible to think that thousands, if not, millions of tonnes of fresh food is left to rot in fields or sent to animal feed when many families are struggling to afford to put food on the table. Wasting good food should never be cheaper than feeding people, and yet it cheaper for farmers to waste good-to-eat food than get it to charities putting meals onto people’s plates. There was until recently an elegant solution – the DEFRA Food Waste Fund. The Food Waste Fund was one of those initiatives which received support from across the political spectrum. A relatively small amount of funding from Government covered additional costs of harvesting, packaging and transporting surplus food so growers would no longer have to pay more to get their fresh, edible surplus food to charities than they would to plough it back into the fields or send it to recycling.

With the support of this funding stream, in just one year, FareShare was able to provide an additional 29.5m million meals for vulnerable people, saving 12,429 tonnes of fresh, healthy food from waste, and avoiding 48,043 kg of carbon emissions.

It’s a worrying and uncertain time for many with the end of furlough and the removal of the uplift to Universal Credit. It seems unlikely that the demands on food banks will decrease in the short-term given what is going on in the country at the moment, and it’s difficult to understand in these circumstances why this funding stream has not been renewed. £5m per year would enable the FareShare to double the amount of fresh food delivered to charities.

FareShare’s latest campaign, #FoodOnPlates, aims to change the Government’s mind on the Food Waste Fund. Without the funding, 53 million meals worth of food will be needlessly wasted. You can help by emailing your MP: