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FareShare calls on government to extend ‘ground-breaking’ funding to ensure surplus food goes to charities

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1 October 2020

Two years after then Defra Secretary of State Michael Gove MP announced ground-breaking trial funding to save surplus food from waste and get it to charities instead, FareShare, the UK’s largest food charity, is urgently calling on government for this funding to be continued and extended.

“It cannot be right for millions of tonnes of fresh, good to eat food to be left to rot in the fields or sent to animal feed when so many families are struggling to put food on the table, and when charities and community groups are crying out for more food to help support communities decimated by the economic effects of the pandemic. ”

Lindsay Boswell, FareShare CEO

The idea behind the Defra Food Waste Fund was simple - by covering the small additional costs of harvesting, packaging and transporting surplus food growers would no longer have to pay more to get their fresh, edible surplus food to charities than they would to plough it back into the fields or send it to recycling.

Since the launch of its own funding to help food producers overcome the cost barriers of getting food to safely charities (in part funded by the Defra Food Waste Fund) in just one year FareShare was able to provide an additional 29.5m million meals for vulnerable people, saving 12,429 tonnes of fresh, healthy food from waste, and avoiding 48,043 kg of carbon emissions.

Now, as we head into a recession, it has never been more vital to get food to charities and community groups working on the frontline. That’s why FareShare is urgently calling on government to extend funding to get food to those in need.

£5m per year would enable the charity to double the amount of fresh food delivered to charities – echoing the recommendations of the  Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee in its recently published Covid-19 and Food Supply report.

Lindsay Boswell, FareShare Chief Executive, said: “We’ve always known food producers would much rather see their food go to good causes than waste it, and, by removing the major barrier: cost – this initiative has delivered phenomenal results.

“It cannot be right for millions of tonnes of fresh, good to eat food to be left to rot in the fields or sent to animal feed when so many families are struggling to put food on the table, and when charities and community groups are crying out for more food to help support communities decimated by the economic effects of the pandemic.

“We are urgently calling on government to continue and extend this funding, so we can continue to get good quality, nutritious food to charities up and down the country. The results of the funding speak for themselves – with an extension of £5m a year, and with the scheme now firmly embedded, we could get the equivalent of over 40 million meals per year to vulnerable families, children and individuals.”