Every year, around two million tonnes of fresh, unsold food is wasted on farms and factories - but the charity said government funding which helped to divert this food to frontline charities over the past year has been axed.
FareShare, a charity which distributed over 130 million meals’ worth of food through a campaign championed by Manchester United and England footballer Rashford during the pandemic, is calling for this funding to be renewed.
Ahead of International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste on Wednesday, FareShare projected carrots onto London landmarks as part of its #FoodOnPlates campaign, stopping people in their tracks.
The Houses of Parliament is among buildings that images were projected onto.
Chef Tom Kerridge, who is supporting the campaign said: “Wasting food is always wrong, but on this level it’s a scandal. If farmers and food producers aren’t able to sell their food it should be going to charities who are crying out for it, not being dumped back into the ground.”
Working with 18 independent organisations, FareShare redistributes surplus food which can’t be sold due to packaging errors, a short shelf life or overproduction through a network of more than 10,000 frontline charities and community groups.
The Evening Standard has been working with the Felix Project on the same issue and our new social kitchen is every day turning food that would otherwise be wasted into nutritious meals for thousands of deprived Londoners.
“We can’t stand by and watch good, nutritious food rot in our fields while children and families go hungry,” said FareShare CEO Lindsay Boswell.
Without the food redistribution funding, the charity said 53 million meals worth of food will be wasted – thrown into biogas digesters, ploughed back into the fields or “god forbid, landfill,” said James Persad, FareShare’s head of campaigns.
“There are clear environmental drivers here. Methane is an awful by-product of good foot left to rot and is 25 times more damaging as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide,” he said.
The funding would help cover the extra costs of food redistribution for small-scale farmers, making the most environmentally friendly option attractive to the farming industry as a whole.
“If food waste were a country, it would be the third largest greenhouse gas emitter after China and the USA. That’s why, ahead of COP 26, we’re calling on the government to show leadership on this important issue and reinstate this vital funding to get food on people’s plates,” said Mr Boswell.