Waste crops put to good use

A new volunteer network has been set up to distribute free food to those in need, from unsellable farm crops that would otherwise go to waste

Up to half of the world’s food production is going to waste, according to a report by the Institute of Mechanical Engineering published earlier this month. However, the new network is hoping to help combat this in the UK with the help of volunteer gleaners.

The Gleaning Network, set up by anti food waste group Feeding the 5000, aims to save some of the thousands of tonnes of fresh fruit and vegetables that are wasted on UK farms every year. It will then pass the food on to charities that help the 5.8 million people in the UK who, according to Feeding the 5000, cannot afford an adequate diet.

Farmers are often forced to leave crops unharvested and ploughed back into the soil if produce fails to meet retailers’ cosmetic standards or if excess is produced.

Several tonnes of British produce – enough for thousands of meals – has already been saved by Gleaning groups in Kent, Sussex and Lincolnshire. New groups are currently being formed in Manchester and Bristol.