I'll pop some links at the end of this post but you know that food waste is a problem. It's perhaps becoming worse due to the increase in online grocery services. If you order once a week you want long use by dates on your produce or you'll complain or shop elsewhere. This means food with 2 or 3 days still left before the use by date cannot be used by those companies.
Lots of organisations are working hard to rescue food destined for landfill. In this blog I'll cover the ones local to me but there are similar initiatives all round the country.
Since October 2020 I've been volunteering here once a fortnight. Magic Hat upcycles food from several supermarkets and online grocery stores. They've gone through several iterations recently of how they do this (due to the pandemic) but at the moment you can buy a food box from them for £10 which is delivered to your door. From mid April their new café space in central Newcastle will allow them to cook and serve snacks and meals using the produce too. Excess food after they've done all that is packaged up and sent to various charities and community organisations for immediate. All food is checked to be within date and safe for consumption before it is used or distributed.
Sometimes there is produce left over which is just not suitable for any of the uses mentioned. This week there were 2 large punnets of blueberries which were a bit squashed and really ripe. I rescued them, brought them home and created this blueberry pie 🥧. I used our saucepan pastry recipe for the pie crust and this Allrecipes method for the filling
Foodcycle is a national organisation with projects in many towns and cities. The focus at food cycle is on rescuing food and cooking with it. The resulting meals can then be enjoyed by anyone for free or on a pay as you feel basis. I first volunteered to cook with Food cycle in 2018 as part of my 50 good deeds for my 50th year. You can read how I got on in this blog post. I've volunteered a few times since and it's always great fun. It's like the programme Ready Steady Cook on a huge scale as you just see what has come in then create a vegetarian 3 course meal. At the moment the meals are made to take away due to COVID restrictions.
THE PICKLE PALACE
Based in the west of Gateshead, Hannah and Michelle run a social enterprise which really gets the community involved in the issue of food waste. The Pickle Palace rescue fruit and veg and create delicious chutneys and jams which are then sold. They also host 3 markets per week at various community centres where you can 'shop' on a pay as you feel basis from the various food items they have collected from supermarkets etc. Having attended a few markets recently I would say get there early for best pickings and be prepared for some queueing time. For the most up to date information on their markets I would recommend their Facebook Page
There will certainly be a good number of food waste initiatives near where you live. Get searching and let me know what you come up with 😁
Food Waste Information