Last Thursday I dropped by Kings Church, Somerstown, for my first FoodCycle experience. FoodCycle is an volunteer run organisation that I have admired from afar for a small while now; anyone who highlights and tackles the issue of food waste gets a big thumbs up from me. In the last two years alone, they have saved more than 9822kg of food from landfills and served over 5231 three course meals. Naturally I jumped at the offer to join them for dinner.
The core of FoodCycle’s concept is simple; the three vegetarian courses put in front of you will all be made up from surplus food, donated by local branches of Tesco, Sainsbury and Morrisons (come on Asda…). Due to the volunteers not knowing what foods will be provided on the day, ingredient maximising dishes must be thought up and prepared pretty much on the spot. Like a creative, community version of Ready Steady Cook if you will. The tables are set with fresh fruit and crusty bread (all donated) and before you know it the plates start rolling out. That evening I discovered that there is something truly soul fulfilling about, not just eating a dinner made from food that would otherwise be thrown away, but looking around and seeing this surplus feeding at least twenty other mouths.
What soon became clear is that FoodCycle is so much more than an organisation that battles food waste; their community dinners offer a weekly space where positive relationships can be fostered between the guests and the volunteers alike, over a free and nutritious meal. This three pronged attack of reducing food waste, reducing food poverty and reducing social isolation helps build and nurture our communities through the power of a sit down meal.
The community meals at Kings Church occur once a week every Thursday, seating is at 17:50 for a 18:00 meal. If you wish to support Foodcycle in any way shape or form (and I urge you to), you can find extra information about the organisation and how to apply to volunteer here. Be sure to also check out their great guide on how to minimise your own food waste at home.