HRH Charles, Prince of Wales, writes in the Mirror about his war on food waste as he launches a new education programme called ‘Food For The Future’ as he aims to help cut the ‘colossal amount of food we waste’
Prince Charles tonight writes an exclusive op-ed for the Daily Mirror as he launches a new programme to educate school children about how to prepare and cut back on wasting food to help save the planet.
One of the myths about transitioning to a more sustainable way of living is that it will cost us more.
I don’t deny that in some instances there will be a price, but that is not always the case, and I have set out this week to try, in any way I can, to help the next generation see the helpful things we can all do at home that will not cost us anything. In fact, they could save us money.
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On Thursday my Foundation launches a new education programme called “Food For The Future”. The pilot scheme will involve pupils from secondary schools across south-west and central Scotland who will learn over the course of the year from notable experts like Jimmy Doherty and his long-time friend, Jamie Oliver. They will get hands-on experience of growing fruit and vegetables and farming, visit food-processing factories and learn how to cook healthy food that is locally sourced.
The aim is to give them a comprehensive understanding of how our food system works and discover alternative approaches that are better for nature, people and the planet.
I am so keen to make this happen because it is young people’s futures I am most concerned about.
If we can encourage and enable them to see that the food they eat is part of a joined-up system which can either help or hinder the health of the planet, they will be much more able to help turn the situation around to avoid the climate catastrophe towards which we are all hurtling. For one thing, they will discover that almost overnight they could help reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by up to 10% without it costing anything.
All they need do is make informed choices to help cut the colossal amount of food we waste.
The annual figure currently stands at 1.3 billion tonnes, and more than half of it is thrown away at home, an issue one of the companies backing Food For The Future decided to tackle.
Hellmann’s conducted an enormous research project in Canada which involved a thousand families earmarking just one day a week as a “use-up day”.
They were asked to make meals using only what was already in their homes which was otherwise destined for the bin. To their surprise, the families reduced the amount of food they threw away each week by a staggering – but hugely encouraging –one third.
That suggests that if every family in Canada did the same, around 250,000 tonnes of food a year could be saved.
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So imagine the impact in the U.K., which is home to nearly 30 million more people than Canada.
Farmers wouldn’t be under the same pressure to produce quite as much food from our struggling soils, the savings in greenhouse gas emissions would be substantial but, best of all, there is the likelihood of big reductions in people’s weekly shopping bills.
Much is going on in the food sector to make a difference and I can only applaud the many British food manufacturers that are working to reduce the impact their processes have.
But much more could be done if we, the consumers, are better informed and lead the way.
My long-term hope is that food products on supermarket shelves will carry a kite mark that indicates how sustainably they have been produced.
The Mirror has joined forces with community television channel Together TV to hand out 50,000 packets of free basil seeds to readers.
The seed starter kits are being given away as part of a new Green Challenge to encourage more people to start growing more of their own food.
Along with your packet of basil you will receive tips on how to look after the plants and exclusive recipes using the herb from celebrity chef Rustie Lee.
Bake Off winner and presenter Nadiya Hussain and TV gardener Danny Clarke are also backing the Green Challenge.
Nadiya told the Mirror: “There is so much joy you can get from cooking, it’s good for the soul. The power it has to bring your family, friends, neighbours and community together to connect and share the delicious food you’ve made is the best.”
How to apply for your free seeds:
- Visit www.TogetherTV.com/GreenChallenge and fill out the online form
- By SMS: Text “Together” to 80800 for free followed by your full name
- Sending your full name, post address and phone number via letter to –
Together TV’s Green Challenge 24 Neal Street
London WC2H 9QW
But, in the meantime, a big step is to make sure the next generation is much more aware of better and often inexpensive ways of reducing the size of our footprint on the world.
At present, as many scientists have been trying to get across, we are breaching what they call “planetary boundaries”, to the extent that we need four planet Earths to sustain the current and projected demands we make on this one, precious planet.
For this reason, I have spent some 40 years of my life trying to indicate what needs to be done to ensure we do not bequeath a destroyed world to our children and our grandchildren.
As you can imagine, therefore, I would be delighted to see them playing an active part in ensuring that their future is a healthy and prosperous one, and to do so fully informed about how profoundly their health depends upon the health of the planet that sustains them.