Fareshare provided community organisations in Lanarkshire with enough food by to dish up more than 730,000 meals during the last financial year.
The food surplus redistribution charity provided organisations in North Lanarkshire with 184 tonnes of food and those in South Lanarkshire with 127 tonnes.
Fareshare, Scotland’s biggest charity redistributing surplus food, is calling for more action to stop needless food waste, as part of a green post-pandemic recovery.
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The charity’s call accompanied its publication of new figures showing its impact in Scotland during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Its annual statistics confirm that between April 2020 and March 2021, it distributed almost seven thousand (6798) tonnes of food to communities across Scotland. That’s the equivalent of at least 16 million meals, or one meal every two seconds.
FareShare takes delivery of good-to-eat food, which is unsold or unwanted by the food industry, sorts it in one of four Scottish regional warehouses, and passes it onto a network of around 750 charities and community groups.
Those organisations then turn this nutritious food into meals for families and individuals, often alongside other local community aid, such as money advice or family support.
The 184 tonnes of food distributed to North Lanarkshire groups was enough to provide the equivalent of 438,104 meals, and the 127 tonnes in South Lanarkshire could produce 302,387 meals.
In addition to redistributing food industry surplus, FareShare’s network also distributed food which was purchased with £2.1 million of Scottish Government funding, to help those most at risk from food insecurity due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
Jon Molyneux, FareShare’s Scottish Affairs Lead, said: “These figures show the scale of the effort in the past year to get food to people in need. Our warehouses, staff, volunteers and our network of charities have been working flat out to support local communities all over Scotland.”
FareShare’s food effort has been boosted by its innovative Surplus with Purpose scheme, which was set up with a one-off grant two years ago. The scheme works with small-scale farmers, growers and suppliers to save food that is rejected for consumer sale, for being the wrong shape or size, or because of production errors, and helps them with the cost of redistributing this fresh food through FareShare, rather than let it rot in the ground, be used for animal feed or sent to landfill.
Fareshare wants to see the Surplus with Purpose scheme expanded to help fight food waste.
It is already supported by some supermarkets and with the UN Food Summit and COP26 happening later this year, the charity wants to see government and industry working together to roll out the scheme, to help cut waste and carbon emissions.
Jon Molyneux added: “Many people still don’t realise that food waste is a huge contributor to global warming, accounting for at least eight per cent of total global greenhouse gas emissions.
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“The Scottish Government has committed to reduce food waste in Scotland by one-third by 2025. That will mean eliminating almost 300,000 tonnes of food waste a year. Expanding FareShare’s Surplus with Purpose scheme could play a huge part in meeting that challenge, and that’s why we want to step-up action ahead of COP26 in Glasgow later this year.”