Surplus food waste is one of the biggest problems facing humanity today.
In the UK, over 10 million tonnes of good food is thrown away every year. At the same time, millions of people are struggling to afford to eat.
By 2021, we want to see the amount of surplus food wasted in Merton reduced and increased nutritional health and well being for the most food insecure residents.
We aim to inspire and mobilise residents to actively grow and consume fresh, locally produced food and reduce the amount of good food we are throwing away Merton.
By working with local people and partners we aim to influence change to tackle food poverty and enable residents to have greater choices and take more control of their overall well being.
Good food is going to waste.
Edible food that is fit for human consumption is not reaching our tables, and is instead being left to spoil or thrown away by retailers and consumers. Around 85% (by weight) of the avoidable food waste arises in households and food manufacture.
of the 10 million tonnes of food wasted in the UK each year could be avoided.
= £17 billion
of wasted money
of associated greenhouse gas emissions
Food waste is a huge problem for our environment.
Producing, processing and transporting food which is ultimately being wasted requires huge amounts of fresh water, land and other resources.
When avoidable, or unavoidable, food waste goes to landfill, it decomposes, creating methane - a greenhouse gas 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide, contributing to global warming.
If the 7.3 million tonnes of food thrown away from homes in the UK each year were prevented, the environmental benefit would equate to taking
1 in 4 cars off the road.
Whilst edible food is being wasted in shocking amounts, an estimated 8.4 million people in the UK struggle to get enough to eat.
Families spend nearly 18% of their budget on food but throw away the equivalent of 6 meals per week, meanwhile, levels of food poverty in the UK are rising.
'Food poverty encompasses both the affordability of food, as well as its availability within local communities.' - Sustain
In the UK, over 1 million people accessed a food bank in 2017.
Children are having to skip meals and parents are going without food themselves to afford to feed their families.
Be part of the solution
Local action must be taken within our communities to encourage residents to value good, healthy food, reduce waste, and support local initiatives working hard to tackle food poverty. For people, and planet.
FOOD FOR HEALTH AND WELL BEING
Sustainable Merton has created a list of resources to provide information relating to key issues around food for health and well being, and organisations working within this area.
Dig Merton was the brainchild of Councillor Andrew Judge, and was designed to encourage community food and plant growing in Merton, with individual projects being run ‘by the community for the community’...
Our Schools Food Growing Project, funded by Public Health Merton, offered an excellent opportunity to gauge just how keen and enthusiastic students are to grow their own food...
Sustainable Merton was awarded over £77,000 from Local Food (a £59 million programme supported by the Big Lottery Fund) the transform 4 acres of neglected, litter strewn land into a community food growing hub.