On Friday 13th May the University of Warwick hosted ‘Food For Thought’ in the Students Union, bringing together a wide range of fantastic speakers to discuss issues of food waste and wellbeing.
The line up involved:
- Kerry Kirwan, WMG: Carrot Power
- Martine Barons: Decision support and Eco pollination services/food poverty
- Lizzi Bos Coventry University: ‘Growing a better society: the role of community food growing’
- Sarah Meharg: Food and Mood
- Nat Panda: Food excellence project at the Student Union
- Amy Wheeler: Birmingham student project into food waste
- Chris Maughan: Food Coop/urban gardening
- Sarah Bromley WRAP: EU Fusions
- Jordon Lazell: Coventry Food Waste Studies Group?
- Brittany Pummell Coventry University: Living waste free
- Warwickshire Council: From Grey to Green The Great Warwickshire Yuk Off
- Food Union
Some highlights included:
A video from the Warwick Student Union about their Food Waste Campaign – Click here to watch
Interesting facts from Dr Kerry Kirwan about using carrot, potatoes and even chocolate waste (yes apparently we waste chocolate!) to create new fibres that can be used like carbon fibre to build parts of a car!
A number of speakers talked to us about the benefits of allotments, including initiatives to help people with mental health and rehabilitating prisoners through engagement with a prison allotment. There are over 300,000 allotments and in London there is up to a 40yr waiting list, which shows how demand is growing along with people’s hunger for fresh produce! Even the University of Warwick has a community allotment (Warwick University Allotment Society).
A number of other voluntary initiatives are also running in Coventry, helping to reduce food waste and encourage community spirit! These include The Pod, Rawkus, Warwick Food Coop and Food Union. They are always looking for volunteers so get involved so you may be interested if you live in or around Coventry! At the national level is Fareshare, which takes surplus food from, for example, supermarkets and distributes it around the country to charities, such as hostels for the homeless and women’s refuges.
Sarah Bromley from WRAP, talked about the ‘Love food hate waste’ campaign and how important it is to educate people in food labelling, planning meals (particularly portion size), and food storage in order to help reduce waste. For example, using your freezer to freeze left-overs and all sorts of fresh produce including eggs!
Warwickshire County council also told us about The Great Warwickshire Yuk Off, where Warwickshire Waste Partnership’s Grey to Green food recycling campaign saw massive buy-in from local residents with thousands pledging to recycle all their food waste in their green wheeled biowaste bin instead of the grey residual waste bin. The campaign highlighted that there’s enough food waste in residents’ dustbins to fill Warwick Castle to a depth of 4 metres, and that if everyone recycled their food waste it could save a fortune in disposal costs.
The event was a great success and highlighted all the great projects and initiatives in and around the University of Warwick to help reduce waste and support our health and wellbeing!