Charity puts on community feasts to tackle food waste

The first Zero meal event at The Beehive in Bethnal Green.

Hackney locals enjoying Zero meals made from food that would otherwise have gone to waste. - Credit: Harry Purvis

A zero waste charity is helping Hackney restaurants create community feasts made from surplus ingredients.

Meals made during the project are being offered to Hackney residents from all walks of life this summer for free or on a Pay What You Can basis at The Beehive in Bethnal Green.

Charity Zero aims to reduce carbon emissions and local restaurants' carbon footprint by combatting food wastage while also tackling food poverty in the borough. 

Michael Norton, co-founder of Zero restaurants, said: "Reducing food waste can involve every stage in the food chain from growing to processing to restaurants and people’s kitchens.

"At every stage action is possible, and at every stage we need to engender awareness of the issue and solutions."

New charity Zero is hosting community feasts to tackle food poverty and waste. 

New charity Zero is hosting community feasts to tackle food poverty and waste. - Credit: Harry Purvis.


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According to the UN Environment Programme's (UNEP) Food Waste Index Report (2021), around 17 per cent of the worlds food is wasted each year and between eight to ten per cent of global carbon emissions are linked to unconsumed produce. 

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that 690 million people went hungry in 2019, a number that is expected to rise sharply during and post-Covid-19.

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The first Zero meal, which took place last Saturday (July 17), saw 50 people attend. Guests included local families, parishioners of Hackney churches, elderly and young people. 

Food made from ingredients that were about to be thrown away. 

Food made from ingredients that were about to be thrown away. - Credit: Harry Purvis

The food was cooked and served by a mixture of professional chefs and unpaid volunteers, all of whom also got to enjoy the meal.

Nat Jenkins from Zero restaurants said: "It’s a great feeling to see people enjoying time with their families or making new friends, while enjoying delicious food which would otherwise have gone in the bin.

Around 50 people attended the first Zero meal event in Bethnal Green. 

Around 50 people attended the first Zero meal event in Bethnal Green. - Credit: Harry Purvis

The food was offered as Pay What You Can through an anonymous phone app where you selected a price starting at £5 and going all the way up to £100.

Hackney resident and Zero diner Olivia Ballard said the meal was "incredible": "Who would have thought you could cook such amazing food from ingredients that were on their way to the bin."

Zero is helping Hackney restaurants reduce their carbon emissions by wasting less.  

Zero is helping Hackney restaurants reduce their carbon emissions by wasting less. - Credit: Harry Purvis

The next Zero event will take place on July 31 at The Beehive on Cambridge Heath Road at 6.30pm.

Learn more at www.zerorestaurants.com
 

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