we feed the world

I have only just started volunteering with refugees and asylum seekers in a community center in London and at the last session I was put into the ‘food team’ to prepare lunch for about 30 people. ‘Brilliant’ I thought, imaging myself break a plate and cut my finger. Estonian, Eritrean, Ethiopian, Ecuadorian led by a Somali chef – off we went. Whilst I was focused keeping away the tears when chopping the onions, I noticed bunch of men piling the kitchen with boxes and boxes of food. After a little investigation I learnt that it was a delivery from an organisation FareShare that itself gets donations from stores and cafes. Fruit salads, bread, sauces, juices, cheeses, more salads from i.e M&S, Waitrose. Really nice healthy & good quality food. I felt really pleased finding out about this initiative, as I have been quite aware of all the food that simply gets thrown away by stores when the ‘best before’ is approaching. Some of my friends tried to fight against that in somewhat illegal ways, by ‘skipping’. No, not skipping with a rope, but ‘dumpster-diving’ in the shade of the night on the back alleyways of supermarkets, to save what one can. The intro of the documentary We Feed the World of the mountains of bread that simply gets thrown away, gives a good insight into it. Indeed, ‘bin-dive’ does not sound most glamorous, but the amount of food that goes to waste on various reasons is a disgrace. Paul, my co-volunteer told me a story of an encounter with a homeless person in London, who claimed, that there is no shortage of food, can find it everywhere. Nevertheless, I find it a positive initiative, addressing the ‘food waste’ and delivering it to the right places, removing the humiliation of digging the bins. After the session, there was a pile of bread, that got thrown away and we had a little debate over it. The end conclusion was, that the food has already been ‘recycled’ and one cannot do it endlessly. My attempt to feed it to the ducks was also put aside, as apparently it’s the worst thing one can feed to them. Live and learn I suppose.


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