Daylesford Discusses: Food Waste event recap
On Monday 9th September we gathered round at our Pimlico farmshop for our latest Daylesford Discusses event.
With a panel of sustainability and zero food waste advocates, we talked about some of the current issues facing us as consumers, including limited options for food recycling, the responsibility brands and consumers carry, and tips and tricks for living a more sustainable, planet-friendly lifestyle. Read our key takeaways and find our useful links below.
Plan ahead & get creative
“We need to be more disciplined but it’s also more rewarding once you get stuck into it.” – Rhaya Jordan, Daylesford resident nutritionist and wellness expert
Our panellists agreed that making a shopping list and planning meals is one easy way to make sure you only buy what you need. Rather than being tempted by multi-buy offers on fresh food – which can often result in wastage, especially with meats – if we buy only what we need, we should use up all of the ingredients in our planned meals.
Use the sniff test
“We have become so scared of ‘use by’ dates that we waste loads of food. Try the sniff test instead – if a veggie is well past its date but smells fine, it can still be cooked with.” – Will Dennis, Daylesford’s London Regional Operations Manager, General Manager of Daylesford Pimlico and a lead member of the Daylesford Sustainability Committee
Have you ever picked up one of your shop bought vegetables and realised it is past the use by date? This shouldn’t lead to you immediately throwing it away, our panellists agreed. Using the sniff test and checking for mould are key indicators of whether it is still good to use. ‘Use by’ dates should be used as guidelines only; using our senses should be the final determinant. Bear in mind however that for meats it is more important to stick to the ‘use by’ date.
Utilise all parts of veggies
“Bananas are the number one food crop that is wasted. We can use banana skins as a fertiliser so they don’t have to go to waste.” – Max la Manna, zero waste chef, sustainability advocate and environmentalist
More of our fruits and vegetables are usable than we realise. Did you know that pumpkin seeds can be roasted and sprinkled on top of salads? Or that broccoli stems are deliciously sweet? Don’t be scared to utilise the whole product.
Fall back in love with cooking
“As a society we have lost lots of our skills in the kitchen because we’re in such a rush.” – Brett, founder of Wasted
In our modern society, saving money and time have become priority over quality and health for many. Now is the time for us to re-learn our cooking skills; pouring time and energy into a nourishing home cooked meal could leave you feeling as satisfied mentally as it does physically. A lot of the snacks or fast food we buy tends to come in non-sustainable or recyclable packing, so why not try making some homemade snacks such as roasted seeds? It’s all about being conscious as a consumer and thinking consciously about our food choices. Encouraging sit down meals at home is important, too.
Preserve your shop-bought produce
“It’s crazy to think that salad in plastic bags can make it halfway across the planet and only last one day in our fridges.” – Kate Arnell, eco blogger and TV presenter
Did you know that herbs can last for months if placed in a jar or cup full of water? One of our audience members shared this tried and tested tip – try it out for yourself. Max la Manna also recommended placing a kitchen towel in with your salad to help keep it fresher for longer.
Seek out new places to shop
Rather than buying the same products on repeat each week, with multiple boxes and cartons to recycle or dispose of at the end of it, try seeking out bulk refill shops where you can take in your own vessels so that you can take away only the amount you need (see our zero waste pantry). Independent food shops rather than larger supermarkets are more likely to have more locally grown produce, so look out for these too.
Reach out, SPEAK UP, TAKE ACTION
“it’s about brands changing public opinion and setting trends for change. It depends on what becomes popular – that’s why consumerism is the way it is today.” – Mark Curtin, CEO of The Felix Project
The responsibility lies with all of us – from councils to brands and consumers, being conscious about our choices and tackling food waste should be something everyone considers. Whether you’re calling your local council, Tweeting a brand to ask about their sustainability measures or doing our own research online, we need to buck the trend of fast consumerism and treating produce as a quick commodity than can be disposed of. Together we can make a difference.
We agreed that not seeing the journey of our food from the ground to our plates – as well as what happens when we dispose of any leftovers – means that we don’t have a true appreciation of where our food came from. If we grew the veggies ourselves, we may not be as quick to throw them away so we recommend trying to adopt this attitude towards shop bought goods.
Food waste with children
“Working with children makes it really hard to avoid food waste! They might start eating something then refuse it. How can we tackle this?” – Audience question
From smaller portions to encouraging children to be more engaged in food, there are plenty of actions we can try for our tricky eaters. Rather than giving them a whole apple, why not try a few slices? Our panellists – many of which are parents – agreed that engaging children in food growing or preparation can spark an interest and make them think about and appreciate food more. Max credited his father with showing him the diverse flavours and ingredients that made up his dinners.
“Since engaging with zero waste content on Instagram and Facebook I have had a lot of content geared towards this topic and things keep popping up which interest me. I have learnt so much from this.” – Audience member
Have you ever searched something then seen ads or content relevant to it start popping up across your social media apps? One of our audience members credits this with helping her to discover useful resources to expand her knowledge on sustainable living and tackling food waste. Following inspiring figures online could be the starting point.
Below are some useful links to help you get started, learn more about food waste and get creative with the options available to you.
Wasted.org.uk – We were lucky enough to have Wasted’s founder Brett on our panel for the event. Head to your Apple or Android app store to download Wasted for ideas on how to tackle food waste, with solutions local to your area.
Zero Waste Near Me – A helpful resource to find local shops selling unpackaged food to help you on your journey to less food waste and a reduced negative environmental impact.
Project Drawdown – Brush up on your knowledge of our environmental crisis and actions that are being implemented for change. It might spark your imagination on things you can do to help.
Super Cook – Do you often find yourself with odd ingredients left in the fridge or cupboards that don’t quite match? Enter them into Super Cook and you’ll be presented with recipe ideas to make use of your odds and ends.
Foodwise – The same as Super Cook with a slightly broader selection of items. Let them do the hard work for you.
Mimica – An example of innovation in food waste, Mimica won the James Dyson Award. As a bio-reactive food expiry label, it will help to reduce the amount of perfectly edible food thrown away.
Tips to reduce home food waste – from our blog – Read our tips for reducing food waste at home, with ideas and quick wins from our sustainability expert Tim Field.
Zero waste pantry – from our blog – Explore our Zero Waste Pantry in our Kingham farmshop. You can fill up reusable vessels with cereals, grains, nuts, household items and more, taking only what you need.
SAVE THE DATE
The countdown is on for our next Daylesford Discusses event. Join us at our Notting Hill farmshop on Monday 18th November from 6.30-8.30pm where our panel of experts will be debunking popular food and nutrition myths. Save the date and watch out for more information here