Espresso Mushroom Company
Loading at the Brakes depot in Ayelsford, Kent
Dave Vickers, Steve Steadman and Nathan Au, unload the van
Seb from FareShare stacks the cabbages
Olivia Reid of Terre á Terre questions the sustainability of the food supply chain
The provenance and traceability of food and beverage products is continuing to be an intense area of innovative manufacturing activity; never before have customers had so much choice of fresh products, but will this have to come to an end in our time as we all face the fact that our natural resources are not as sustainable as was perceived?
The existence of a better informed public seeking socially, ethically and environmentally responsible products is growing and so raising questions about the real impact of our current product supply chain, which may lead to a food supply revolution seeking solutions from grower to shopper. But where do the changes start? For any business in the food sector to really effectively change and achieve socially responsible status, while still function in a financially reliable way, true innovation is needed, and not just by them. Each stage of the supply chain is required to play a role, the agri-food arena needs to explore and utilise new and existing technologies, point of sale needs to increase commercial awareness and become more adaptable, but real innovation is needed in the form of multidisciplinary communications offering consumers all the required health, ethical and environmental information about the food that is consumed. It is shocking that with so much interest in new technologies developing intriguing food waste disposal systems for domestic and commercial sector that there still exists a false obsession in the industry’s best marketing tools of sell-by/use-by labelling encouraging the disposal of edible food.
Ultimately the supply of food is determined by agri-food production, and low yields and high food waste will never offer food security, so agronomic and biotechnological applications will have a defined place in developing this security. This is placed firmly in the policy development area but there are creative solutions available, technologies that add value to food waste, giving it a functional role, diverting it to fuel and feed.
Let me introduce a local example of this creative innovation, Espresso Mushroom Company, a group of coffee drinking food lovers who’ve taken the next step to create fresh, local and sustainable produce: oyster mushrooms grown on used coffee grounds. This is a fascinating way of turning a waste product into an effective method of growing mushrooms, whilst also producing nutrient-rich compost as a by-product. While coffee brands are shouting about their ethical sourcing there is very little consideration for the grounds that are discarded after brewing. Only 0.2% of the coffee cherry harvested from the plant is actually consumed in an espresso, and with 70 million cups of coffee being drunk in the UK daily, that’s a huge contribution to landfill and increase in harmful greenhouse gases. This is a clever example of something with sustainable ethos offering a financially rewarding, environmental and delicious outcome, true inspiration for us all!
Currently Robbie and Alex collect from Small Batch Coffee shops but are looking to work with more coffee houses and start selling to restaurants and the public through markets, launching at the Big Sussex Market where they will happily talk you through the fascinating process.
FareShare’s Liz Davies stacks the shelves with dry goods
Nothing is wasted – any food not fit for consumption is composted at the Forest Garden in Moulsecoomb
FareShare delivers in all weathers –this week over 650kg of food was dropped off
Jack Hoser and Damien Ellis deliver to Limited Editions Care Co-ops
Shaniya Browne and her mum Gemma tuck into a bun at Hollingdean Veg Co-Op
Volunteers serve up a tasty chicken and cashew nut stir fry to Richard Levett at St Anne’s Day Centre
On the road with FareShare
This year sees FareShare celebrating 10 years of fighting food poverty in Brighton & Hove. We sent our photographer Julia Claxton to capture the invaluable work their team undertakes.
Working with the food industry, FareShare is a national charity that redistributes good quality, edible surplus food to those in need. In 2011 FareShare received and redistributed over 200 tonnes of food both in Brighton and other city’s around the UK.
In Brighton & Hove, they supply over 40 organisations, such as shelters, refuges, day centres and community groups. It is estimated that 4 million people in the UK are unable to afford a healthy diet and with food prices rapidly rising, and many Brighton & Hove residents struggle to include fresh food and healthy ingredients in their diet.
Almost entirely run by a fantastic team of volunteers, FareShare also offers work skills and training in food hygiene, manual handling and fork lift truck driving.
Due to the nature of the supply chain, no two days are ever the same. On the day we visited, Brakes donated a healthy amount of fresh tomatoes, cabbage and onions, as well as other foods. These were all racked at the FareShare storage warehouse
before being sorted for delivery to the community.
The following day Julia met up with staff and volunteers of St Anne’s Day Centre as they prepared and served a 3-course meal to their appreciative clients. Nothing is wasted, spoiled foods are composted at the Moulsecoomb Forest Garden and Wildlife Project, where John Horsfeld and his team of volunteers grow a variety of wonderful fresh produce in the community garden enriched by the compost.
Meet the FareShare team at the Community Food area in the Corn Exchange at the Big Sussex Market on Friday 6 - Saturday 7 April
For further information on FareShare, to become a food industry partner, or to volunteer call 01273 671 111 or visit www.faresharebrightonandhove.org.uk
For information on the Moulsecoomb Forest Garden and Wildlife Project visit www.seedybusiness.org
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