Good Food Left to Rot after Government Funding Change

This summer FareShare is calling on the UK government to reconsider its decision to end a 2019/2020 pilot scheme that saw £15million help good-to-eat, surplus food to be picked and transported from farms to charities -like FareShare – helping to feed people in need instead of going to waste.

The money was a major contributor to an increase in redistribution in 2020 according to Wrap, with almost 7,000 tonnes of food – equivalent to 20 million meals – diverted from farms. That was a 2.5 fold increase from under 3,000 tonnes the year before.

With WRAP highlighting that 1.6million tonnes of food waste is generated on farms each year, whilst we know the need for food support has soared over the past 18 months, the whole FareShare network is keen to raise the issue.

“That food is out there, the problem is that it is cheaper for farmers to currently waste their edible surplus food than send it to charities like ours. We think that’s wrong.”

Director of Operations at FareShare South West, Lucy Bearn

Lucy’s comments are in reference to other government subsidy schemes that encourage farmers to send waste to Anaerobic Digestion plants, instead if redirecting edible surplus food to charities who are feeding those in need.

Lucy Bearn with an ITV News team, about to explain the issue.

“The funding we received in 2019/2020 helped FareShare to almost double the amount of food saved from farms. Fruit and veg is often unaffordable for families so it doesn’t make sense that highly nutritious food is being ploughed back into the ground or sent to anaerobic digestions, instead of ending up on people’s plates.”

Lucy Bearn continues.

FareShare is calling on the government to provide just £5m a year (which is a tiny fraction of the subsidies given to AD plants) as this would enable the UK to double the amount of food delivered to those in need. Without this funding it is thought 54million meals worth of food will be needlessly wasted per year.

“The increase in need seen over the pandemic hasn’t gone away. The voices demanding we do better when it comes to the environment and sustainability, rightly, are not going anywhere, so ensuring the money is available to make it possible to get good surplus food onto the plates of those in need must be a priority.”

Lucy Bearn concludes.

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