How businesses are working together to cut farm waste and tackle food poverty

Volunteers hand-pulled, topped and tailed around a few tonnes of surplus leeks at a Lincolnshire farm to combat food poverty.

Dozens of users of voluntary organisation Lions Club Intercontinental joined the work in guidance of The Gleaning Network, which encourages people to decide on surplus crops to shrink farm-level meals squander.

The leeks had been picked on Saturday (23 April) in Coningsby, then positioned in crates and dispersed to frontline charities and groups this sort of as university breakfast golf equipment, more mature people’s lunch clubs, homeless shelters, food items banking companies and group cafes through FareShare’s regional centres.

Dr Chris Hibbert, the Lions Club Worldwide countrywide hunger officer, fashioned the Lions Gleaning Hub two yrs back.

Since then, much more than 38 tonnes of food from 8 counties – including Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire – have been rescued.

Dr Hibbert reported: “Last year, we had been inundated with pumpkins as they are acquiring more well-known and we experienced alternatives with close to a dozen farms.

“While we managed to assist most of them, the waste was however staggering. All those people who volunteer for us have been stunned by the quality and amount of food items offered on the farms we have managed to engage with and the assortment of factors for this surplus.

“While food financial institution, group fridges and soup kitchens are perfectly-supported, consciousness of meals squander typically is nonetheless not extensively appreciated.

“We are hoping to acquire additional chances with farms across the country, as well as motivate much more volunteers to get associated.

“Another space we are keen to develop is around training of developing, preparing and cooking food stuff as there is an in excess of-reliance on takeaways and pre-organized food.

“It is important for persons to realise that the foodstuff we are selecting is fresh, wholesome and delectable. It isn’t squander – it is surplus and our goal is to end it from becoming waste.”

The hard work was supported by professional law business Shakespeare Martineau – which has a presence in Lincolnshire – and which desires to supply 10,000 volunteering hours in 2022. People today from the firm contributed in direction of this by pulling, planning and conserving the surplus leeks in Lincolnshire.

Jennie Wheildon, lawful director who specialises in agricultural home regulation at Shakespeare Martineau, explained: “It is estimated that £1.2 billion’s worth of food stuff is wasted each individual yr, which can be attributed to cosmetic specifications, purchase cancellations, forecast variations, unpredictable climate, and harvesting potential.

“Gleaning cuts down food items squander on farms and will increase the provide of new foods to all those in want. “As agricultural regulation experts advising farming businesses, it is notably terrific to have an option to volunteer on a farm by encouraging to harvest the surplus supply.

“We are delighted to have supported the Lions Gleaning Hub with its 1st decide of the yr and are hunting ahead to assisting out with extra gleaning around the future 12 months.”

To discover out about Lions Club International’s gleaning challenge or to get associated, make contact with [email protected] or pay a visit to the Lions District 105CE web page to check out newsletters, films of gleans and the Lions Feeding the 5000 events – the upcoming of which is planned for November 5 in Lincoln.