Stroud is leaping forward in inventing ways to reduce food waste, with an inspired network of individuals and groups tackling waste at each step of the way, from farm to kitchen bin.
Cllr Laurie Davies, Stroud Town Council said “Food has proved to be a real catalyst for community-led action throughout the pandemic.
“Stroud Town Council is pleased to support a partnership of local community groups with a grant to fund a subscription to Fareshare Southwest, putting to good use food which would otherwise have gone to waste whilst building resilience at the neighbourhood level.”
Fareshares rescue wholesale food which is still in date but surplus to requirements in wholesale, and Paganhill Community Group co-ordinates the delivery and distribution of the food throughout the community food hubs. A large quantity of waste is produced by supermarkets, Middle of The Hill Community Group is collecting food from Tesco and distributing it to the hubs.
A new scheme has been started at the farmers’ market so that leftovers at the end of the market are collected by volunteers and distributed to community food hubs.
The Foodhubs help to eliminate food waste. Anyone can come to take fresh food and put a donation in the tin, they also welcome donations of allotment surplus.
Individuals and shops can use the new app Olio (https://olioex.com) to offer and share free food that would otherwise go to waste. If you’re going on holiday or have leftovers from your bakery or corner shop, download the app and see how it works. Many people are active users in Stroud, sharing anything from leftover curry to surplus veg from the garden.
There’s also an increasing number of people in Stroud not only cooking their leftovers into new dishes but preserving and pickling their excess produce.
Mark Russel at Thrupp Community Orchard said “In the autumn, there are more apples than we can eat in Thrupp. We have a community juicing day, which is really fun.”
Much of the UK’s food waste occurs on farms but not at Stroud Community Agriculture, where farm members are each offered a share of the entire crop. Farmer Sam Hardiman, added: “We don’t believe that food should be wasted. We don’t grade out the extra-large or bent cucumbers because we know they are healthy and delicious. Even the leftover stalks and damaged produce is not wasted, we feed them to our cows.”
Food manufacturers in Stroud are also working to reduce food waste. Greg Pilley from Stroud Brewery said: “When we have finished brewing we are left with boiled organic malt and hops, much as you are left with a tea bag after brewing a cup of tea. It’s not suitable to eat but we don’t want to send it to a landfill. We give it to a local conservation farmer, who in turn supplies us with beef for the kitchen.”
Other producers are encouraged to contact the food waste elimination group at Trinity Rooms Community Hub who are co-ordinating distribution to the food hubs around Stroud. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have excess food, or wish to get involved. Sarah said: “it is a privilege to work with the teams from the community hubs who are so committed to serving our community in this way, preventing good nourishing food from going to waste, and getting it to those who really appreciate it most. The problem of food waste and food inequality is one we are tackling together.”
Would you like to do more to help reduce Stroud’s food waste?
- Don’t buy more than you can eat and use up or give away your leftovers
- If you do have waste food, use your green compost waste bin
- Volunteer for one of the food hubs or come and use the rescued food from a food hub
- Try Olio app
- Local Climate Action groups are eager to hear your ideas about how to reduce food waste in your area.
- Ask at the places where you buy your food what they are doing with their waste