From Refuse to REF use
One third of all food produced will never be eaten, and this volume of food waste is more than enough to feed all the hungry people in the world.
The Food Foundation (2016) estimate that 870 million people do not have enough to eat, with most hungry people (98%) living in developing countries, where almost 15% of the population are malnourished.
However, they also estimate that in the UK the annual food waste arising from households, hospitality and food services, food manufacture, retail and wholesale sectors currently stands at around 10 million tonnes, 60% of which could have been avoided.
Despite the UK being the 6th largest economy in the world, there are currently 8.4 million people struggling to afford to eat. An estimated 5.6% of people aged 15 or over experience food insecurity, with a further 4.5% reporting that, at least once, they went a full day without anything to eat. Based on these preliminary estimates The Food Foundation (2016) suggests the UK ranks in the bottom half of European countries in terms of food security.
Whilst there are now many organisations that intercept surplus food and redistribute it for human consumption, Leeds based Fuel for School are unique in that they have developed relationships using intercepted surplus food, and a Pay-as-You-Feel concept to radically change the experiences, and outcomes, of children in schools.
In the last academic year Fuel for School delivered surplus food to over 65 schools across Leeds and Bradford, diverted 350 tonnes of food from waste, provided 1,500 children per week with access to food and introduced a programme of Sustainable Education to all participating schools. Whilst redistributing surplus food into primary schools may be beneficial, without change and education, it merely perpetuates the problems.
We believe that access to food is only one dimension of food insecurity and poor nutrition. Children, and adults need education about nutrition, food types and food preparation. Whilst Fuel for School currently has the local means to deliver food and talk to pupils, our dream is to be able to reach all ages within the community, to help them become passionate about food, wellbeing and sustainable futures.
Now in its third year, the Carnegie School of Education’s annual co-creation project with Fuel for School, will be inviting the current Ba Education Studies undergraduates to join them on 30th October at 1.30pm in JG229. Whilst this project was initiated with Level 4 students in 2016, its popularity has seen it become extended across all three levels of the award, creating opportunities for inter-level student interaction and collaboration.
Previous outputs have included the development of a KS2 Education Pack on Cooking and Nutrition, and more recently the piloting of hydroponic units in KS2 classrooms to develop learning around science, ecology and sustainable living. The placement provides a unique research opportunity for staff and students to develop papers for Major Independent Study, in-house Working Papers and journal submissions.
This year’s project is currently unconfirmed and will be negotiated during the initial phases of this innovative Student Partnership initiative. Anyone who would like to find out more about Fuel for School, the Carnegie collaboration with them, or the Carnegie Sustainable Education Hub is welcome to attend.
The Food Foundation (2016) Too Poor to Eat. Available at: https://foodfoundation.org.uk/too-poor-to-eat-8-4-million-struggling-to-afford-to-eat-in-the-uk/
Senior Lecturer and Teacher Fellow, with Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy Anne specialises in the English Education and Higher Education Systems.