Waste warriors FoodCycle transform surplus food into community meals

FoodCycle are a community organisation that use surplus supermarket food to make hot nutritious meals for locals to enjoy.

The charity runs projects all over the UK, cooking and serving community meals with the aim of bringing people together and tackling the issue of food waste.

In Sheffield, the organisation run projects in Sharrow, Lowedges, St Barts and Firth Park.

FoodCycle Sharrow put on weekly meals at Cemetery Road Baptist Church on Wednesdays.

Volunteers collect unwanted food from stalls at the Moor Market, Sainsbury’s on Ecclesall Road, Tesco in Sharrow and others every Tuesday evening.

Once they have collected the donations, a team of volunteer cooks decide what to do with the food.

The project do not use any meat, fish, poultry or food that has gone past its ‘use by’ date in their cooking, but they still receive vast amounts of food that supermarkets won’t use due to stock rotation and wanting the freshest produce.

Tasha Baker, a 22-year-old Food and Nutrition student at Sheffield Hallam, has been volunteering for at the Sharrow project since last August, when it had only recently been set up.

“People are going hungry and we’re throwing away food that’s still in date, or food that’s past its ‘best before’ but perfectly fine. It’s not harmful for anyone to eat, it’s just not up to supermarket standards,” she said.

The meals are open to anyone in the community and they feed the homeless, those in need of a hot meal and people that may be feeling lonely and want to make friends.

“People don’t have to pay for our meals but we accept donations of money, food and we always appreciate plastic containers so people can take their leftovers home!”

“At the end of the day, we just want to give people a good warm meal,” Tasha said.

Volunteers of all ages and levels of cooking ability help out at the events. Food is kept simple, but a number of volunteers have a good knowledge of food and ensure that the meals are tasty and nutritious. The team cook for around 30 people each week.

FoodCycle is just one of a number of organisations trying to tackle the problem of food waste in Sheffield.

“The problem is so much bigger than one city, but we are doing a lot to improve the situation.

“It’s up to everyone to help reduce the amount of food that goes to waste.”