Thursday 27 November 2014

Food waste and food poverty: The Clearaplate Campaign

I feel very strongly about food poverty. The fact that some children are going to school without anything to eat in a country that throws away 11,500 tonnes of food every day is just criminal. One in five families struggle to put food on the table and the use of food banks has increased and within my own community Sikh langar kitchens are providing thousands of meals a day to people who need them.

As you can see I enjoyed my lovely lunch
At Blogfest this year attendees were invited to tweet a photo of our empty lunch plates with the hashtag #clearaplate. We were shown a movie to explain why and it was to launch a campaign where Oxfam are working with Unilever on the clearaplate campaign to provide meals for people who are living in food poverty in the UK.

Their mission is pretty cool:

  • We believe there has never been a better time to create a better future for our children; a world where everyone has enough food to eat and no child goes to bed hungry.
  • Where every child lives to their fifth birthday and has the right to a happy childhood.
  • Where every home has enough water to drink and to wash, cook and clean.
  • And where everybody can enjoy life today while protecting the planet for future generations.

I think all of this is pretty inarguable really. Can you imagine if you had to think about how to feed yourself, your children (if you have them). If you risked your life every day because you didn't have clean water ? Or if you couldn't be sure that your children would get to the age of 5 ? I get so upset when I hear about what is a painful reality for so many people.

It starts small, by thinking about how much you throw away and then taking a step back to look at what you buy. The fact that 75% of us throw away food is a shocking phenomenon when 22% of families don't have enough to eat.

My 'stop wasting food' plan: 
  1. Plan your meals for the week 
  2. Write down what the meals will be (honestly this will reduce so much stress) 
  3. Make a shopping list based on what you need to make these meals 
  4. Buy only what you need - seriously stick to the list ! 
  5. Avoid BOGOFs unless it's something you need or can store for later
  6. Plan ahead for lunch at work or at home
  7. Make lunch from last night's leftovers (if there is anything left that is !)
  8. Be smart with how you use your freezer to store and plan ahead
  9. Have staple ingredients in the cupboard to make simple quick meals
  10. Only buy what you and your family like to eat - then it won't get wasted :) 
I've also found using a slow cooker is a great way to use up all that veg that you buy when you're trying to 'be good' and that lurks in the bottom of the fridge for days until you can't bring yourself to look at it any more.

Make fruit smoothies or lollies from fruit that is sitting looking sorry for itself. Or if you're fed up of bananas going manky bake them into a cake. I've never known my boys to turn down some banana bread or a banana muffin. If I make 12 muffins I freeze half of them for another time and defrost them as needed.

If you have stale bread sitting around whizz it into small breadcrumbs and freeze them or make it into eggy bread. Stale bread works much better for eggy bread anyway and you can make it sweet or savoury.

Finally you can get involved by joining Project Sunlight:

  • Project Sunlight is a movement that has already started.
  • It’s made up of a growing community of people who believe it is possible to build a world where everyone lives well and lives sustainably.
  • Who recognise we can only achieve this if we all work together to do small actions every day that make a real difference.
  • And who inspire others to join us in making this the way everyone chooses to live.

And just so you remember to do it - here's that link again: Clearaplate

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