FareShare South West opens surplus food warehouse in Plymouth
Organisers at FareShare South West say the organisation is making a big difference to tackling food waste and alleviating hunger caused by poverty. FareShare South West recently opened a new surplus food warehouse in Plymouth, which will deliver food for over one million meals per year, saving 420 tonnes of surplus food from going to waste. Against the current cost of living crisis, the need for this service is clear.
A 2021 study prepared for Devon County Council showed that one in 10 Devon households experienced very low food security, with household members eating less and going hungry due to a lack of money and resources. Recent figures show that 22% of children in Devon live in poverty, and that rises to 26% in Cornwall. Meanwhile, the climate emergency makes food waste more unacceptable than ever.
FareShare South West is an independent charity as part of the FareShare UK network, which tackles the issues of food waste and hunger. The charity takes over 2,000 tonnes of quality surplus food every year that would otherwise have been wasted, and distributes it to over 400 charities, schools and community groups across the South West. – Speed cameras save lives and I will not apologise for using them
The majority of food surplus occurs before it even gets to the supermarket and for a huge range of reasons, from packing errors to overproduction. FareShare can handle large volumes safely and repack it into varied weekly orders for smaller local charities. The new Devon & Cornwall service from FareShare has been years in planning and development.
Until now, food companies in Devon and Cornwall had few options for their wholesale surplus. The Plymouth warehouse is transformational, unlocking a whole new region of untapped affordable food. The regular weekly van deliveries mean that surplus can be collected whenever it arises on the return run.
This is especially important for local food producers, who may find themselves with extra food that has a short shelf life and would otherwise go to waste.
As the service expands and more van routes are launched, charities in areas that were previously inaccessible can benefit from a new food supply. For example, the new delivery run to Tintagel charities returns via a major dairy producer in Lostwithiel. Exeter Food Action is a key partner of FareShare South West.
Working alongside FareShare enables them to offer a wider range of food to the people they support, as well as accepting surplus offered directly to them.
(Image: DC Media)
Jon Curtis from Exeter Food Action said: “Partnering with FareShare South West has been brilliant. We’ve been able to access so many more types of food from different kinds of places. This means that less food needs to be subsidised by recipient charities, saving them money, and enabling them to feed more people.
In the Exeter area, we are surrounded by food producers and often offered a huge amount of food that previously we could not accept. Now we have the whole FareShare network to tap into, we can make the most of these opportunities.” Alice Rumbold, from Ginsters, supplying surplus food since March 2020, said: “Our surplus food donations help feed those most in need, and food waste is naturally reduced.
The infrastructure and food safety due diligence that FareShare South West have in place to support its members and protect our communities has helped break through red tape previously encountered when donating branded, chilled surplus food.” FareShare says its new Plymouth warehouse is just the start of the expansion into the Devon and Cornwall region to tackle food insecurity in hard-to-reach areas including those across the Westcountry. Get the best stories about the things you love most curated by us and delivered to your inbox every day.
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