FoodCycle is a non-profit organization that operates by setting up groups of volunteers to collect surplus produce locally and prepare nutritious meals in unused professional kitchen spaces that are served to those in need in the local community.
The aim of FoodCycle is to redirect the millions of tons of edible food thrown out very year by retailers so it can be used to cook nutritious meals for people in the local community that do not have access to healthy foods for a variety of reasons, such as lack of income or knowledge of healthy nutrition. Through its volunteering opportunities, FoodCycle works to empower young people and build communities.
The organization is headquartered in London, England and has operations throughout the United Kingdom.
FoodCycle’s mission is to combine volunteers, surplus food and a free kitchen space to create nutritious meals and positive social change in the community.
The three main issues the organization tackles are
Food waste− An estimated 400,000 tonnes of surplus food can be reclaimed each year from the food retailer industry to be made into healthy and nutritous meals. Part of the inspiration to combat the problem of food waste in the United Kingdom.
Food poverty− There are 4 million people affected by food poverty in the UK. BAPEN estimates that malnutrition costs the National Health Service 13 billion pounds each and every year.
Volunteering− Over 2.4m people in the UK are currently searching for work, including almost 1m 16-25 yr olds. These people need opportunities to develop skills and affect their community positively.
There are 5 hubs where volunteers come together to cook meals in London
Posted by Don Timson, Thursday, 12th May 2011 @ 6:47pm
Norwich City Centre
“At the most recent public meeting arranged to enable us to explain to residents progress that has been made towards resolving some of the areas of concern expressed at previous meetings I was able to report on the huge success of the FoodCycle initiative which provides a healthy meal every Friday evening between 4 and 10pm at the Friends Meeting House in Upper Goat Lane for those who rely on these occasions to enjoy good food as well as the opportunity to meet each other and benefit from the mutual support offered there.
A dedicated group of volunteers collects food from local shops that has passed its sell-by date but not its use-by one so is safe, nutritious and healthy and would otherwise be wasted and thrown away. My City Centre SNAP Partners’ Panel believes this is providing a really useful service to those who have, for whatever reason, fallen on hard times and need some support from the community while, at the same time, preventing good and nutritious food from going to waste. That has to be good for everyone”.
Julian F Foster 12th May 2011 Chairman - Safer Neighbourhood Action Panel (City Centre) Tel: 01603 767066
Posted by Don Timson, Sunday, 17th April 2011 @ 9:41pm
A charity in Norwich is helping to reduce the amount of food that gets wasted
FoodCycle collects unused food from stores, it's cooked and then it is served to homeless people and vulnerable adults.
It's 3pm* and the food collection has started. Rob is one of five volunteers biking across the city. First he’s heading to Norwich market. His next stop is “Wholesome” on Swan Lane, and then onto “Rainbow Wholefoods.”
Rob Cooke, Food Collection Coordinator, said: “Mainly independent stores who get it, got it from the start, who have been nothing but supportive.
That the food that we are getting is fruit and vegetables, dry goods.
We don't use meat for practical reasons.
It's all stuff that’s before it's use-by-date but after it's sell-by-date.”
All the food is taken to the Friends Meeting House on Upper Goat Lane were a three course meal is put together. The charity claim that the food retailer industry generates around 400,000 tonnes of surplus food that could be made into healthy meals.
Molly Potter, Project Leader, said: "The main aims of FoodCycle, I think, is obviously to tackle food poverty, although we are only scratching the surface of that at the moment.
Also FoodCycle really highlights the issue of food waste which in the UK reaches monstrous proportions.
Nothing we do of course is to provide volunteer opportunities for young people.”
Last year Donald found himself homeless. As a volunteer he knows how important FoodCycle is.
Donald Timson, Volunteer Manager, said: “It's a miracle to see them coming in on their own and mingling with everyone else and forming part of the community.”
At the moment they are busy cooking but in a few hours there'll be a long queue and they'll be serving to around 100 people. A free meal that many depend on.
By Dawn Gerber, BBC Look East, Norwich * Friday 15 Apr 2011
Posted by Don Timson, Saturday, 16th April 2011 @ 10:36pm
New Scheme Aims to Feed 5,000 in Norwich
A innovative voluntary scheme which hopes to feed 5,000 vulnerable and homeless people in a year is set to launch in Norwich tonight*
Launch of the Foodcycle project at the Friends Meeting House in Norwich by Peter Walsh
Belle Wiley, Donald Timson, Molly Potter, Chris Simmons, Rob Cooke and Ruth Gordon (in trailer). Photo by Adrian Judd
FoodCycle Norwich, part of a national drive to tackle food poverty, has piloted a scheme which has been providing up to 100 people in Norwich a week with wholesome, healthy free food and caring company since January as part of a community cafe.
Since the pilot was launched at the start of the year food shops in the city donate end of life, but not out of date, food to a team of volunteers at the end of the week.
The assorted groceries are then collected and taken to a team of volunteer chefs who, like on the hit BBC show Ready, Steady Cook, have a short amount of time to prepare a meal from the contents to be served to between 80 and 100 vulnerable people.
The project, which operates between 7pm and 9pm every Friday, has proved so successful it will be formally launched at the Friends Meeting House in the city’s Upper Goat Lane, at 7pm tonight.
Donald Timson, 39, who looks after the scheme’s volunteers, said: “We’ve piloted it since January 4 and have done 13 or 14 sessions feeding between 80 and 100 people - we’ve fed at least 1,000 in three months. We’re not looking at 'feeding the 5,000' overnight but in 12 months we will have fed 5,000.”
Don Timson is one of eight Project Leaders [Ruth Gordon, Molly Potter, Bertie Playle, Rob Cooke, Luciana Edwards, Chris Simmons, Leilai Immel] involved in the scheme which requires between 20 and 30 volunteers every week to collect the food, cook the food, welcome guests, serve food and drinks and clear up. He said: “Volunteers go and pick up goods on bicycles. They cycle it to the Friends Meeting House to the kitchen volunteers. We have a head chef, who is experienced, and about five or six volunteers. They don’t know what’s on the menu until it turns up so they have to be inventive with the food and they do really well - they work miracles. There’s another team of volunteers greeting and serving non-alcoholic drinks.”
Mr Timson, who was formerly homeless himself, initially raised concern about the number of people who were on the streets at night at a meeting of the City Centre Safer Neighbourhood Team in November last year.
Since then the SNT has adopted the issue as one of its priorities and Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) now provide a presence at events as well as help promote it to people on the streets.
Julian Foster, chairman of the city centre’s Safer Neighbourhood Action Panel (SNAP) and of the Central Norwich Citizens’ Forum, said he “totally supported the initiative and would help in any way he, the SNAP team or his forum could. The FoodCycle project had helped identify a gap in provision for vulnerable or homeless people that no-one had realised was there."
The scheme is looking for volunteers, supporters, fundraisers and a bigger venue in Norwich city centre to operate from.
* Friday, April 15, 2011, 6.30pm
Posted by Don Timson, Saturday, 16th April 2011 @ 10:00pm
FoodCycle Project is Well Worth Backing
It's something that most of us take for granted - that we'll have enough food to put on the dinner table at the end of the day. But we are the luck ones. There are people who live in this city who are not so fortunate and it really is a struggle for them to get enough to eat. That was why a charity called FoodCycle Norwich was set up.
It began in January as a pilot project, but in the past three months at least 1000 people have been helped by this scheme. The food has come from shops in the city which donate food they no longer sell, but which is still edible and it's great to see that it does not go to waste. A team of volunteer chefs turn the food into a meal which between 80 and 100vulnerable people sit down to tuck into.
The project gets a full scale launch tonight*, after the pilot project was so successful. The organisers [Ruth Gordon, Molly Potter, Bertie Playle, Rob Cooke, Luciana Edwards, Chris Simmons, Leilai Immel and Donald Timson], who are all volunteers, deserve a lot of credit for their efforts, which have made a massive difference to so many people in Norwich. FoodCycle Norwich is always on the lookout for more volunteers, supporters and donations and hope to find a bigger city centre base. It is a project well worth backing.
Posted by Don Timson, Friday, 8th April 2011 @ 4:03pm
Homeless Figures Have Increased
St Martins is striving to address the needs of the homeless
Anna Hassan, 'BishopBridge' Hostel Manager, said "Homeless figures have increased, currently 5 sleeping rough on the streets and 3 in cars, although on 2-3 homeless within the city centre. All bar 1 are not beggars. Haven’t seen anyone begging. The soup kitchen has also been quiet."
Westminster Council recently claimed: "Soup runs provide a magnet for homeless people and encourage crime, begging and antisocial behaviour."
Sgt Peter Sharples, Norwich City Centre Safer Neighbourhood Team, said "FoodCycleappears to be going well, 80-100 attendees every Friday night. PCSO’s are patrolling in the immediate area 15 minutes before the start and end but not seeing any issues. This needs to be co-ordinated. Revisiting after 3 years, its about promoting the good work of the charities, encourage members of public to donate to the charities as the money is then going to good use... to fund xyz... this needs to be a long term plan. Not necessarily aimed at general members of public during the day time but more at night time economy."
Julian Foster, Chair of SNAP & CNCF, said: "This is an example of the community solving a community problem. This is what SNAP is for."
Posted by Don Timson, Thursday, 31st March 2011 @ 7:58pm
New Project Takes Off
Free hot meals are being served up each week in Norwich, made from ingredients shops would otherwise throw away.
It’s part of a project to reduce the amount of food waste…
Set up in January, the idea behind Food Cycle is to make use of food that shops thrown away. Surplus fruit and veg is collected from around half a dozen stores who’ve signed up to support the scheme. Among them are Wholesome, Rainbow Wholefoods, McCarthy’s Wholesalers and stalls on Norwich market.
The ingredients are cooked and served up as a healthy meal every Friday to those who need it, just off Pottergate. As they don’t accept meat or fish, the meals are vegetarian; hotpots, curries and salads. Volunteer manager, Donald Timson said: “It’s extremely successful. We’ve got keen volunteers who help make it run smoothly. We’re catering for easily a hundred people, maybe more and we’d like to expand.” Many students use the service: “They come for financial reasons, but also want a healthy meal, or want to socialise and be part of a community operation. Many support the aim of reducing waste.”
So far, only one supermarket, Budgens, has joined the project. Project leader, Rob Cooke, says it’s an on-going process: “What we’re doing is amazing already. It’s really disappointing that the supermarkets, bar Budgens, are not on board. We would have expected or hoped that at least one of them would have jumped at the chance.”
From a shopkeeper’s point of view, they can reduce the amount of food they’d have to throw away. Tim Cross, who runs Wholesome said: “I can’t bear to see food wasted and think it’s a fantastic idea… and of course, being in the city centre, we have to pay to have our rubbish taken away so it helps us out too.”
According to the charity, the food industry in the UK sends 1.6 million tonnes of food to landfill. They say a quarter of this could be collected to make nutritious meals for vulnerable people affected by food poverty.
Food Cycle provide a free meal every Friday at The Friends Meeting House on Upper Goat Lane, 7-9pm.