Sun. Jun 23rd, 2024

Glastonbury grub redistributed by food charity FareShare South West

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FareShare South West - Glastonbury


While thousands of festivalgoers were dragging themselves away wearily from Glastonbury last Monday, a number of volunteers from a local food charity were eagerly arriving on site as their hard work had only just begun. Representatives from FareShare South West (FSSW) collected around two tonnes of surplus food left over from the festival and redistributed it to catering charities in the local area. It was the first time that the Bristol-based organisation has collected food from Glastonbury, a significant development for the charity’s Festival Food Recycling Service.

“This is fantastic for us, to be so close to and to work with one of the most famous festivals in the world. We hope our relationship will thrive and we can take much more next year,” says Jacqui Reeves, CEO of FareShare South West.

With the likes of country legend Dolly Parton and metal giants Metallica receiving rave reviews, it was another vintage year for Glastonbury. At its busiest, there were more than 170 000 people on the festival site, which is more than double the population of the nearby city of Bath. With many people keen to sample some of the festival fare, the festival also presents an excellent business opportunity for around 474 local catering companies. Unfortunately, many tonnes of food are left over each year from the food traders which is still fit for purpose. If food is still edible they give it away to people, to our welfare or crew catering or it is left out for people to take.

Thankfully, a solution to some of this waste was presented this year after FSSW reached an agreement with Glastonbury Festivals Ltd. FFSW is an independent franchise of the national charity, FareShare. It works with the food industry to minimise fit-for-purpose fresh, frozen and long-life food going to waste, and send this food into organisations working with the most vulnerable people in the community. “We are really pleased that Fareshare have been able to collect the trader’s surplus food waste and redistribute it amongst local charitable organization after this year’s festival. It is fantastic that a charity like Fareshare has been set up to tackle unnecessary food waste within the festival and events industry and divert it to the most venerable people.” Says Lucy Smith, Green Issues Coordinator, Glastonbury Festival.

On the morning following the festival, FFSW representatives arrived on site with two vans to scoop up surplus food from 25 different traders, including fruit and veg, bread and hummus. The food was then delivered to Windor Hill Wood hostel in Shepton Mallet, Elim Connect hostel in Wells and a YMCA in Burnham-on-Sea.

Glastonbury traders were delighted to avoid their surplus food going to waste. “Fantastic concept – should see it at every event and festival, hate to see food wasted,” said one of the traders.

The collection, however, was not without its challenges. Due to the heavy traffic and mud it took the charity workers hours to complete their collection. “Despite both vans breaking down, we still delivered two tonnes of food,” says Clare Winterbottom, FSSW’s Events and Catering Manager.

The Festival Food Recycling Service was launched last summer as the Fareshare South West team saved surplus food at UK festivals including Shambala in Northamptonshire and Bestival on the Isle of White. This year the scheme is being extended as the charity is seeking partnerships with other UK festivals including End Of The Road in Dorset and the World of Music, Arts and Dance (WOMAD) in Wiltshire.

“This is an innovative project which we have been developing over the last two years and are still in the process,” says Reeves. “We intend to research and develop a good practice toolkit that gives tips and systems and enables a route for distribution of good quality food instead of it being wasted”.

In addition to food collections, the Fareshare team also attend festivals with their fine dining restaurant, The Surplus Supper Club. This initiative – also launched in 2013 – sees Fareshare chefs combine surplus food with goods purchased from local suppliers to make three course fine dining meals for festivalgoers. Last year, The Surplus Supper Club raised £27,000 to support the charity’s core operations in Bristol and it attracted celebrities including Howard Marks and former Eastenders actress, Charlie Brooks.


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