“I would like to see systematic changes on food poverty issues and waste use”, Hattie Parke.
What is your job about?
At Foodcycle we Tackle food waste, food poverty, and social isolation.
We use the abundance of surplus food from supermarkets and independent stores, a team of volunteers cook a three course meal every Sunday for those most in need, particularly the homeless, refugees and asylum seekers.
We also run a pop up restaurant where we charge £6 for three courses to raise funds. We’re a volunteer-powered community project working to reduce food waste, food poverty and social isolation by serving tasty, nutritious meals each week in the local community. This is supported by a range of educational events and fundraisers throughout the year to highlight the issues of food waste and food poverty to the wider community. In the last year we have saved 4,004kg food from being wasted, this is equivalent to a saving of nearly 20,00kg CO2 .
What issues do you address?
- Food waste
- Food poverty
- 15 million tons of food is wasted in the UK each year
What moved you to take action?
I have always been interested and concerned, however I was moved to take action a few years ago.
I also work in environmental consultancy but I wanted to be involved on a more practical level. Seeing and reporting on the ridiculously large quantities of food waste continues to shock and appeal me. I wanted to take practical action within my local community to help change this and start a shift in the way the system works (or does not work!). I started at FoodCycle as a volunteer and I am now a coordinator.
What are the obstacles that you had to overcome?
- Volunteer management
- Levels of volunteers
- To find diversified volunteers for student holidays, Christmas etc..
What helped you keep going during hard times?
I am always excited to collect the food, we collect it all with bikes and a trailer. Keeping active and involved keeps me going. I also get to see the impact it is all having.
When did you first become interested in environmental issues?
Since I was very little, I wrote a personal statement as a child which said I wanted to be swampy the eco warrior. I then did a geography degree and went into waste and resource management.
On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being very happy) where would you rate how you feel about your life?