Did you know the world produces enough food to feed 9 billion people? Considering there are only 7 billion people on the planet, it seems strange then that there are still 1 billion going hungry… This effect is seen at a national level too: in the UK, the average household bins £470 worth of food yearly, yet 4 million people in the UK are living in food poverty. Those that need food can’t access it, whilst it goes to waste elsewhere.
Cambridge Sustainable Food is, in a very local way, attempting to address this issue, with the launch of our new Community Fridge in September 2017. Funded by Sainsbury’s, this fridge will help to simultaneously reduce food waste whilst also providing a source of food for those who require it – and who knows, maybe it will strengthen the community spirit on the side as well!
How will it work?
Anyone can put good but unwanted food into the fridge, or take it out to take home and eat. The fridge will be monitored to make sure nothing is kept past its use-by date, and to make sure nothing inappropriate gets put in the fridge. Simply weigh the food and record the exchange, and you’re good to go! Tell all your friends – the more people that use it, the more successful it will be.
Organic food has been rising in popularity for quite a while now. Objections against applying chemicals to food have been voiced for almost a century, but it is only relatively recently that these have gained commercial traction. These concerns include the effects of conventional farming on health, the environment, or animal welfare. For these reasons and more, organic food has become preferable to many – but not all. Although many feel prohibited by price, there also exist those, even within the environmental movement, who argue that organic food is not the paragon of sustainability that it may claim to be.
Now that the WWII Rationing Challenge has ended, we thought it would be the perfect time to take a look at all the best bits of the challenge! There were 90 participants in total this year, with many of you sharing your thoughts, recipes and advice throughout the 4 weeks.
In 1946, just a few months after the end of WWII, 87,000 people rushed to the first National Plastics Exposition in New York, prompting the fire marshal to halt the event . Plastic production, largely for military uses, had increased during the war. But with the end of the war plastic burst with a vengeance into consumer markets and Plastic Age, defined by the ubiquity of these versatile and robust materials, began in earnest. The mass production of plastic consumer goods promised convenience and affordable abundance—a democratization of physical possessions. Susan Freinkel writes in Plastic: a Toxic Love Story that “Plastics freed us from the confines of the natural world, from the material constraints and limited supplies that had long bounded human activity” . 1.7 million tons of plastic were produced in 1954, in 2014 it was 311 million. How much is 311 million tons? It’s about the weight of 31,000 Eiffel towers. Placed side to side, these towers would occupy enough land area to carpet nearly 2.5 Londons (1,572 square km) .
20,072 Cambridgeshire children aged 4-7 years will no longer receive free school meals if the proposals to axe universal infant free school meals (UIFSM) go ahead. This includes 2121 children who live in poverty. In the Cambridge constituency alone, 2761 infants would miss out, 357 of whom are in poverty.
A new school survey carried out for the Soil Association’s Food for Life programme showed that 37% of schools in England fear that their school meal service will close if the infants’ free school meals are slashed. This rises to 47% if it is a small school with its own kitchen .
91% of schools surveyed believe that pupil health and nutrition would be impacted by the potential withdrawal of free school meals for all infants. For many children this is the only hot meal they get in the day.
We are delighted to say that we have been successful in our application to Sustainable Food Cities for a £10,000 grant to appoint a coordinator for one year. 11 such awards have been made, with money from the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and we are very grateful to both Sustainable Food Cities and to Esmee Fairbairn. A condition of this money was that we raise another £10,000 in match funding and we are enormously grateful to the 8 individuals and businesses who enabled us to reach this target.
It was so great to see so many faces, old and new, at the launch for the Cambridge Sustainable Food Pledge and Award Scheme at the University Centre on the 2nd March. The afternoon was a great success, and following the Award’s successful pilot scheme last year (with funding from Cambridge City Council), we hope that this new edition of the Food Pledge and Award Scheme is as successful as the launch event.
Looking to open a café in Cambridge? Do you already own/run a café and are looking to change/open a new premises? Cambridge City Council is inviting tenders for a café space at the new Clay Farm Centre development which could be just what you’re looking for!
In addition to the café, the development will consist of a medical centre, a library, community facilities and residential accommodation. The Clay Farm Centre will serve 3800 new homes as well as the existing Trumpington residents so should be an ideal space for a community focussed business!