Make better use of food

There is a wealth of opportunity to get involved with helping your community make better use of food, from sharing practical tips to reduce food waste, boosting kitchen confidence and cooking skills, putting surplus food to good use, setting up a community fridge, growing your own/community gardens, championing wonky veg, or getting children involved.

Perfect portions, cooking, and storing leftovers

And there’s real need to help communities make better use of food. The average UK household is throwing away the equivalent of six meals every week, costing the average family almost £60 a month. But it’s not just families who could make better use of food – it cost the average person £200 a year rising to £290 for people who live on their own. The shocking truth is that of the 4.2 million tonnes of good food that gets wasted from UK homes, over half hasn’t even made it onto a plate! It goes straight into the bin from our fridges or cupboards because we don’t use it in time.

At the same time, there are people struggling to eat well and feed their families, with many needing support of local Food Banks.

From running a community café with surplus food, providing talks, training or simply giving advice over a cuppa, to getting your community growing and cooking, diverting surplus food to where its needed, and collaborating and supporting existing food projects, there is great potential to boost the wellbeing of your community and help make better use of food.

Here are some initiatives and groups which may be of interest:

Love Food Hate Waste and Somerset Food Champions – passing on practical food saving tips
Somerset Community Food – getting communities growing and cooking, and redirecting surplus food
FareShare South West – working with food industry to pass on surplus in date food to community groups and helping support vulnerable people
Community Fridge, Frome – innovative project to pass on unwanted good food
Activities for young people with Carymoor
Incredible Edible Network – food grown by the community for the community
Food banks – helping people in times of crisis, tackling food poverty
Local food groups – focussed on food initiatives
Other groups – you don’t have to be a food group to get involved with food initiatives
Ideas to make the most of surplus food

Click here to go to Community Waste Action main page and other ways to help your community

Love Food Hate Waste and Somerset Food Champions

Love Food Hate Waste aims to raise awareness of the need to reduce food waste and help us take action. It shows that by doing some easy practical everyday things in the home we can all waste less food, which will ultimately benefit our purses and the environment too.

If you’re looking to pass on tips to reduce food waste and save money, Somerset Waste Partnership offers a wide range of resources and training to back the national Love Food Hate Waste campaign.

Love Food Hate Waste display and pop up bannerThis includes ready-made table top display as well as promotional posters, leaflets and recipe cards. More tools are available than are on our website, such as cookery lesson toolkit, “Save More” workshop activities, artwork, photos, and much more. Do share your plans with us so we can pass on relevant resources to you.

If you would like book promotional resources for your event, please email us quoting Love Food Hate Waste resources in the subject line.

Somerset Waste Partnership’s all-new Food Champions scheme is a network of volunteers to help residents save money by wasting less food. Launched in autumn 2016, we have trained 11 volunteers so far and aim to build up this network over time.

You do not need to be an expert in food or cooking to be a Food Champion. You just need to be keen to waste less, recycle more, save cash – and help others do the same.

Somerset Food Champions trainer's support handbookSomerset Food Champions are given a day’s training, handy tools and ongoing support. The training is free but volunteers must undertake to champion the cause in their community. This initiative, training and resources support the Love Food Hate Waste campaign.

If you would like to know more about how to become a Somerset Food Champion or to find out if a Food Champion could help with your event, please email us quoting Food Champions in the subject line or call 01823 625700 and ask for Beth.

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Somerset Community Food

Somerset Community Food is a grass-roots charity which aims to re-connect people with the social, health and environmental effects of growing, buying, preparing and eating local food.

Somerset Community Food would like to make contact with groups who would be interested in ‘Get Set Cook‘ workshops and series about how to make healthy meals on a budget and minimise food waste or ‘Get Set Grow‘ food growing training, including composting. This is funded through Zing Somerset, Somerset County Council’s Public Health initiative, targeting areas of greatest need in the county. Contact Somerset Community Food to find out if your area is included or to commission workshop(s) in other areas.

Somerset Community Food also created a Food Surplus Directory collating details of local groups who can benefit from gluts and surpluses. If you have surplus food to donate or would like your group to be a potential recipient of surplus food, please contact Somerset Community Food.

To keep up to date with food and growing related events from groups across the county, sign up to Incredible Edible Somerset, the helpful e-newsletter from Somerset Community Food.

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FareShare South WestFareShare South West logo

FareShare South West has been fighting hunger and tackling food waste since 2007.

Four million people in the UK are considered to be living in food poverty, or suffering from malnutrition. FareShare South West takes good quality, in-date, chilled and non-chilled food from the food industry that is surplus to their needs – arising from packaging errors, out of date promotions, discontinued lines, for example –  and distributes it each week to 150 organisations in the South West that support vulnerable people.

Forty to fifty tonnes of food are delivered by FareShare South West each month, with the help of more than 80 fantastic volunteers.

Although FareShare South West is based in Bristol, it distributes food all round Somerset by dropping off food at mini-hubs in Bridgwater, Taunton and Wells, with more planned in the near future.

Surplus Supper Club

FareShare South West also uses the same good quality surplus food to run the Surplus Supper Club, which is an award winning catering company. If you would like it to cater for your buffet, wedding, corporate dinner or any other event have a look at www.surplussupperclub.org.

For any other enquiries about receiving food from FareShare, donating to it or volunteering with it in Bristol look at: www.faresharesouthwest.org.uk or contact Mo on 0117 954 2220 or mo@faresharesouthwest.org.uk.

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Community Fridge, Frome

The Community Fridge: FromeThe Community Fridge Frome is an innovative solution to the problem of surplus food backed by Edventure and Frome Town Council.

Set up in the heart of Frome, the Community Fridge is open from 8am-8pm for donations and collections of good but unwanted food. It’s the first in the UK.

The hard work of figuring out how a community fridge could work has been done so you can find out from those in the know if you want to set up a similar project in your community.

For information on the story behind Community Fridge Frome, where it is, how it works and how to set your own Community Fridge, visit www.edventurefrome.org/fridge.

For photos and updates, follow Community Fridge Frome on
Facebook: communityfridgefrome
Twitter: CommunityFridge

Community Fridge Frome now works with Fair Frome to help even more surplus food find a good home.

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Activities for young people with Carymoor

Carymoor Environmental CentreCarymoor Environmental Trust provides classroom activities both in schools and at Carymoor Environmental Centre, for a variety of cross-curricular topics covering waste and recycling, materials, sustainability, natural and recycled crafts and much more.

Food themed activities include Waste Free Lunch Game  and Food Waste Education Pack which explores the biology and technology behind the treatment of food waste in Somerset and aims to help children encourage families to recycle food waste rather than add it to their rubbish bin.

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Incredible Edible Network

Incredible Edible Network is a national network of groups bringing communities together through food, inspiring action to help improve their own community in their own way.

There are three main areas in which groups may focus activities:
The community plate – galvanise your community through growing and celebrating local food.
The learning plate – from plot to playground, Incredible Edible brings learning to life.
The Business plate – it’s what we as individuals can do to support a local food economy.

InQEdible Edible, part of Quantock Eco, aims to grow vegetables, fruit and herbs at sites around Williton, available to the community for free and supporting for families in need through their Food Box scheme. There’s lots of ways to get involved from looking after sites or finding new ones to donating your surplus food crops or time to support the Food Box scheme.

Not local to Williton? Find out how to start your own group with The Incredible Edible Network.

You may find useful contacts for other like-minded individuals through Somerset Community Food’s e-newsletter called Incredible Edible Somerset. You can sign up from their homepage.

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Food Banks

This section is under construction.

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Local Food Groups

This section is under construction.

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Other Groups

This section is under construction.

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Ideas to make the most of surplus food

Whether you have a glut from a bumper crop or surplus food from a change of plans, here are a few ways to prevent it being wasted:

  • Use Somerset Community Food’s surplus food directory to offer it to a local community group
  • Set up a give and take box scheme
  • Donate it to Community Fridge Frome (please check excluded items before you go)
  • Try Love Food Hate Waste tips – check advice for freezing and recipe suggestions for tasty meals to freeze for another day or making preserves and smoothies.

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Click here to go to Community Waste Action main page and other ways to help your community