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Food for our Future campaign encouraging families to attempt food waste challenge

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The average household in South Cambridgeshire throws away around two kilograms of food waste each week - and that could be avoided.

Bea Brown and Cllr Rosy Moore. Picture: Keith Heppell
Bea Brown and Cllr Rosy Moore. Picture: Keith Heppell

The cost of edible food wasted across the UK is equivalent to around £700 a year for an average family with children.

Now Cambridge Sustainable Food, South Cambridgeshire District Council and Sustainable Cottenham are teaming up to challenge people to shrink their food waste.

The Food for our Future campaign – supported by the Cambridge Independent – launched last Saturday (October 24) with an online screening of the 2014 award-winning film, Just Eat It, at 5.30pm.

The screening was followed by a live Zoom discussion, ‘Whose responsibility is sustainability?’ hosted by Gemma Birley, director of Cambridge Sustainable Food, with experts including Rebecca WeymouthWood (GAWP), Dr Alison Grieg (ARU) and Cllr Brian Milnes.

Following Saturday’s launch, the Food Waste Challenge began yesterday (Monday, October 26)

Cllr Brian Milnes. Picture: Keith Heppell
Cllr Brian Milnes. Picture: Keith Heppell

Participants are encouraged to weigh their kitchen food waste over three days at the beginning of the challenge and submit the weights to Cambridge Sustainable Food which, over the following four weeks, will be sharing tips, recipes, demonstrations and lots of useful links online.

At a global level, food waste is a major contributor to climate change.

The greenhouse gases produced by food waste account for around a fifth of our individual carbon footprints – and also waste the precious resources that went into producing it.

Participants can learn more during live online events as part of the campaign, including a limited ticket cook-a-long, with celebrated chef and food writer Rosie Sykes.

There will be a Hallowe’en special live cook-a-long for families, with James Shepherd, from the Let’s Cook Project, and stories and other activities for children to enjoy online.

Other chefs sharing their top tips and tricks on how to reduce your kitchen food waste include renowned food writer Tim Hayward, Liz Young (The Modern Table), Sourdough expert Hilary Cacchio, Lucy Robinson (Stickies pop-up), Leo (Jack’s Gelato) and Cambridge’s deputy mayor Alex Collis, a food hub co-ordinator.

In the final week, participants will be asked to weigh their kitchen waste and again send these weights to Cambridge Sustainable Food, which will calculate carbon emissions saved and let participants know the results.

Cambridge Sustainable Food will support all participants with regular emails and reminders of the events.

The Food for our Future Campaign. Picture: Keith Heppell
The Food for our Future Campaign. Picture: Keith Heppell

Food for our Future project co-ordinator Bea Brown said: “The campaign is divided into three different parts. One is about reducing our food waste, another about reducing people’s meat and dairy intake, and another about eating seasonally.

"We’re focusing on food waste for the launch. Then, in 2021, we’ll do the meat and dairy campaign and the seasonal campaign.”

Bea believes that awareness is growing.

“WRAP [the Waste and Resources Action Programme], which is a nationwide organisation, has done lots of research during lockdown which has shown that people’s habits have changed quite a lot,” she said.

“We’re being much more cautious using our leftovers, people are planning more – so rather than going out shopping blind, they’ll look in their cupboards and see what they’ve got and plan.

“People are poised to keep those good habits and perhaps forge more.”

Bea added: “People throwing litter are now seen as very taboo – it’s something you can get fined for – and I think part of the message of the film Just Eat It is we should be as horrified by wasting food as we are by people dropping litter.

“There’s a cultural shift needed, and I do think it is happening.

“People are more concerned about the food that they’re wasting and lots more people are cooking from fresh than there were before because they’ve had the time to do it.”

To find out more, sign up for the challenge or book tickets, visit cambridgesustainablefood.org.

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