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Foodcycle - A fun and tasty way to cut food waste

Wednesday 22 February 2012
Did you know that . . . .

An estimated 400,000 tonnes of surplus food can be reclaimed each year from the food retailer industry to be made into healthy and nutritious meals. 

There are 4 million people affected by food poverty in the UK. BAPEN estimates that malnutrition costs the NHS £13 billion each and every year.

How does FoodCycle help?

FoodCycle raises awareness of food waste and food poverty by empowering local communities to set up groups of volunteers that collect surplus produce locally and prepare nutritious meals in unused professional kitchen spaces. These delicious meals are then served to those in need in the community.  The food is offered to anyone and everyone who comes along, a £2 donation is welcome from those who can afford it, which is incredibly good value for a 3 course lunch.

There happens to be a FoodCycle in Cambridge so of course I went along one Saturday morning to help out. 

EVERY Saturday at 12.30pm Cambridge FoodCycle serves a tasty 3 course lunch made from reclaimed food surplus at St Pauls Church in Cambridge. The meals are cooked with love by volunteers for people affected by food poverty, and anyone who cares about food waste, who want to come along for a delicious and cheap lunch.

I had such a fab time!  There were 3 huge tables of food for us to prepare and cook.  Caz the leader of the cooking team said that they cannot always take all the food available to them as there is only so much they can carry and cook.  Food is collected on a Friday evening from a local supermarket and other suppliers (thanks Neil) and prepared and cooked the next morning.  There was SO much food that would normally go to waste! This was food from one day of the week, and there was loads more that they couldn't utilise, I can only imagine the massive amount of food from the rest of the week that is normally wasted  as there is seemingly no way for it to be utilised.

It is scandalous that there are people in food poverty and yet there is decent food that is thrown away.  What a huge waste of resources!  I was completely gobsmacked at the amount of delicious food the team was able to produce from the donated food.

Here are some of the dishes that were prepared and served:

Starter: Caramelised Onion and Brussel Sprout Soup

Main Course
The main course was Pasta in a creamy Courgette, Pepper and Mushroom Sauce with Carrots and Parsnips roasted in Clementine Juice and a Root Vegetable Bake with Greens Sauteed in Butter and with Garlic.

Banana Cake

Roasted Clementines drizzled with Golden Syrup
There was also an enormous bowl of Cherry Tomato, Pepper and Lettuce Salad, enough for at least 60 people to have as a Main Course and an Apple and Plum Crumble that was prepared as well as a vast quantity of fresh Fruit Salad.  All from food that would normally be thrown away!

I cannot recommend volunteering for your local FoodCycle highly enough.  It was such a fab experience! Now don't panic if your culinary skills aren't the best.  It's a very supportive team and if you can chop and peel, that's half the battle won LOL There's one team that does the cooking and a second team to help serve, clear away and wash the dishes afterwards.  It's very well organised and relies on volunteers to help with each stage of the process.

If you live near Cambridge and want to help out at St Pauls on a Saturday morning then you can find Cambridge FoodCycle on Twitter and Facebook.


  1. The Secluded Tea Party22 February 2012 at 13:55

    The pasta looks fab and wow- roasted clementines?!... How do you do this?... Sounds delicious
    Miss Sue Flay (The Secluded Tea Party) xx

  2. Hello the lovely Miss Flay!

    Roasted clementines are just halved, drizzled with a little golden syrup and roasted, ideally with some vanilla pods. Then serve with a dollop of whipped cream :o) I'll definitely be volunteering again, great fun!


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