This year we have been squirreling away in collaboration with FareShare South West, to create Food Route Local, an online resource that will take surplus food from those who have it and ensure it gets to people who can use it. We must admit it has been a challenge, and it has seen various guises along the way, but we now have it up and running and so we are excited to tell you about it. It is a project that has been made possible with a Bristol Green Capital Strategic Grant, which we were extremely happy to receive.
The idea came from many meetings during 2014, where a group of people who are passionate about starting to solve the massive food waste crisis we have in the UK, discussed how to solve it on a local level. Having discovered that many people are trying to help stop such enormous waste at distribution level, and with a feeling in the room that the local needed eto be addressed, a decision was made that concentrating on surplus coming from local shops, restaurants and cafes would make both make a difference and create a community of people who were helping each other, whilst ensuring that food was going to feed people and not to landfill.
The mecanism for using Food Route Local is a simple text message. A message goes out from the giver of the food stating what they have and when and probably where it needs to be collected from, to the organisations that have signed up to receive food. Those organisations then call the number on the text to contact the supplier and arrange collection if they can use that food. It really is that simple.
Want to know how you can get involved? Well spreading the news is important and we would ask you all to do that. But also making organisations that you know of, or work with, aware of Food Route Local and its aims. There are tons of food wasted every day whilst we see 16 food banks active in the city and to us this makes no sense. So no matter how small the organisation, we want to help them to feed people with food that is just surplus to requirements. It is still in date and perfectly edible!
There is lots more information at foodroutelocal.org about how to get involved.