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A free foodshare project on Arran seen has food worth more than £100,000 used rather than thrown away in less than two years.
Arran Eco Savvy has been running a foodshare scheme in conjunction with the local Co-op supermarkets since November 2018. Last month the foodshare reached a milestone having diverted almost 15 tonnes worth of food from landfill.
This would not have been possible without the support of the fantastic Eco Savvy volunteers who collected and distributed the food around the island for the first 15 months of the scheme and more recently the supportive Co-op staff who have kept the foodshare going in light of Covid-19 restrictions.
In November 2018 the foodshare began with the collection of short life, orange label food once per week. This was then distributed on the evening of collection in Brodick. Over the next three months the foodshare grew to be held three nights a week. A volunteer coordinator was appointed in mid 2019 and the foodshare continued to expand.
By March 2020 there were collections on five nights per week from the three Co-op supermarkets. This was distributed in seven locations on the island. Having the foodshare in the different villages allowed for wide reaching access to the food. An exceptional network of over 40 volunteers made the scheme possible, collecting food come rain or shine, sometimes up to 100kg worth at a time. The largest recorded collection was on December 27, 2019 when 180kg, over £1,000 worth, was distributed in Lamlash.
The foodshare scheme is about raising awareness of, and preventing, food waste; it is not a foodbank. All island residents (and visitors) are welcome to come and collect food that would otherwise be destined for landfill. Food waste and it’s breakdown is a leading cause of methane emissions, a harmful greenhouse gas, and by utilising the foodshare and preventing the food being wasted this methane release is stopped. The foodshare nights are run to be inclusive for all and some became social events in the island villages with coffee, cake and recipes being shared.
The lockdown at the end of March put pause to the foodshare being run in the collect and distribute model. It prompted a rethink of how to continue the scheme and ensure that Arran was diverting as much food waste from landfill as possible. The shop managers at the Co-ops on the island were very supportive in helping move the Eco Savvy foodshare into the stores. Currently food is available from 8.15pm daily to be collected from fridges in both the big Co-op in Brodick and the Lamlash Co-op. Eco Savvy has recently donated a freezer to the big Co-op Brodick to ensure the preservation of food leftover from foodshare. This is accessible at any time of day.
Arran Eco Savvy would like to thank the volunteers, Co-op staff and the Arran community for making this incredible achievement possible. £100,000 of food that would otherwise have been binned has been kept out of landfill, lowering the island’s carbon foodprint and helping to put a stop to food waste. The Co-op are very kindly donating £100 of food to the foodbank to mark this milestone. Thank you for supporting the foodshare!
The first with the film crew was taken when the foodshare was used to help illustrate the UN Sustainable Development Goal Zero Hunger in a BBC bitesize series.
The second photograph shows the current foodshare set up at the Big Coop Brodick including the recently donated Eco Savvy freezer.
Jessica Wallace, sustainable food coordinator
The foodshare was used by a film crew to help illustrate the UN Sustainable Development Goal Zero Hunger in a BBC bitesize series. NO_B41food01
The foodshare set up at the Big Coop in Brodick including the recently donated Eco Savvy freezer. NO_B41food02
Jessica Wallace. NO_B41food03