There are one billion malnourished people in the world – our inefficient food chain is to blame. A scandalous amount of food is thrown away by the farmers, supermarkets, businesses and individuals each and every day. The amount of food which heads for the bin before it even touches the shelves is enormous. FareShare Brighton and Hove stop food lining bins and ensure it fills the stomachs of 3800 people a week. They are an organisation who combat this waste, while reducing hunger and increasing the employability of their volunteers. FareShare make it possible for surplus food to be delivered to many different organisations around the UK, as the Brighton depot is one of seventeen around the country.
I interviewed Project Manager Nathan Au to find out a little bit more about FareShare Brighton and Hove.
Q: Where is the food sourced?
A: We have fifty different sources varying from manufacturers, to businesses in Brighton. About five of these are really big suppliers. These range from big wholesalers like Brakes to more familiar names including Higgidy Pies, Pret A Manger, Real Patisserie, Twinings, Asda and Brighton’s whole food co-operative Infinity Foods.
Q:Who qualifies to receive food?
A: We supply over 53 different community food members in Brighton and the surrounding areas. These include food shelters, women’s refuges, hostels for people coming off the streets, asylum seekers and refugees. These organisations cater for about 3800 people a week, from varying social groups. All the organisations we supply are registered charities, statuary bodies or other credited associations. We only supply non-profit organisations.
Q: So FareShare acts as a kind of middleman?
A: Yes, we act as a bridge between surplus food and the charities. Without FareShare the fifty-three different organisations receiving our food deliveries would not be able to source this food from the suppliers; they do not have enough space to store such big stocks of surplus food and manufacturers would not co-operate with so many different small organisations.
Q:What kind of products do you supply?
A: We try to keep healthy food in above a quarter of the delivered products, vegetables make up a large proportion of the food we receive and deliver. However we do not turn down food on heath grounds, for someone who is homeless a chocolate bar provides much-needed energy.
Q: Are there any food products you won’t supply
A: We don’t supply anything past its use by date, no shellfish or seafood. We have to be really careful about who we supply and we inspect the charities we supply for food safety standards. Because of health and safety reasons we cannot supply any food that is past it’s best before date. This is just a recommended date of usage and most dry food products are perfectly good for human consumption well past this date.
Q: Who are your volunteers?
A: We have a range of volunteers, some students but others who have had difficulties in their lives and been unable to hold down regular employment. Volunteering helps them gain skills, provides a structure in their lives and increases employability.