This July, WRAP released a report estimating that 3.6 million tonnes of food is wasted on UK farms each year. This staggering amount is more than the quantity of food waste produced at the manufacturing and retailer level combined. Feedback’s Gleaning Network provides a solution by working alongside farmers across the country to intercept perfectly good fruits and vegetables that are due to be ploughed back into the fields. The reasons for food waste at this level vary, but frustratingly for the farmers it can often be a result of unpredictable market practices. Gleaning allows produce to be saved and then distributed to charities and community focused social enterprises in the area.
The North West Gleaning Network have worked with Open Kitchen MCR (formally Real Junk Food Manchester) for a number of years and have distributed an array of beautiful fruits and vegetables that we have transformed into incredible dishes to cater events and special occasions. I decided to get in on the action and joined a cabbage rescue mission this week on the outskirts of Preston.
It was eye opening to see just how many cabbages were due to go to waste, yet being with a group of fantastic volunteers who worked hard throughout the day to save them was inspiring. It is obviously very difficult for any farmer to see produce go to waste but it is wonderful that something more positive can come from it through working with the Gleaning Network.
I returned back from a fun day in the fields with 17.6kgs of cabbages. Chef James and Chef Laurence soon began transforming it into kimchi that we cannot wait to serve it with some delicious street food dishes at future Surplus events!
Do you want to become a gleaning warrior? Then sign up to the network for the future gleaning sessions here!