A relationship that started between New Spitalfields Market and the award-winning charity City Harvest London (CHL) last summer has already made a huge difference to some of the most vulnerable sections of London’s population.

CHL is leading the way in recycling food for the better good and promoting greener practices. The charity’s objective is to prevent the unnecessary waste of good and safe food, by accepting donations of excess food from businesses in all sectors of the food industry, and distributing it to enterprises and programmes that benefit “homeless shelters, soup kitchens, after-school programs, centres for veterans, and organisations that assist people with alcohol or drug addictions”.

The charity collects surplus food from more than 500 donors at an average of above 40 tonnes a week and redistributes it to around 260 organisations across the capital.

Since early 2018, New Spitalfields Market has opened the door for CHL to come to the market to approach tenants, and, subject to a tenant or owner’s consent, they have so far been able to relieve them of 1.9t of left-over produce, for onward redistribution.

When the relationship began, Paula Merrony, Head of Daily Operations at CHL said: “Fresh food is what everybody needs and wants. We welcome produce that may be coming to the end of its life cycle – it might not make the grade for a traders’ usual customer but is sufficient for human consumption elsewhere.

“Due to the volume of useable produce that is often discarded, we are looking for a longer term green solution for products and produce wastage. They could possibly be sent to other smaller organisations who specialise in the manufacture of food goods, but are passionate and committed to green and sustainability issues as we are”

Ben Milligan, the Superintendent at New Spitalfields Market added: “It helps with a very good cause, prevents unnecessary wastage, brings down waste removal costs for the Market and aids the broader sustainability agenda.”

Earlier this week, Ben received some great news regarding the impact that New Spitalfields Market has made. Francesca Santucci, Head of Volunteer Engagement at City Harvest London told Ben that the donations from New Spitalfields market alone add up to roughly 4,500 meals worth of food for people who really need them.: “I wanted to take a moment to thank you on behalf of the City Harvest Team and all our partner charities,” she said. “Over 2018, New Spitalfields Market has made a large and positive impact on the lives of thousands of Londoners through your donation. We are so grateful to work with New Spitalfields Market and could not have reached 4 million meals without you!!

“We look forward to an even more impressive 2019!”

Paul Walker, Chairman of the New Spitalfields Market Tenants Association, agreed: “It removes near end-of-life produce which saves tenants waste costs and helps people less fortunate than us. I am delighted that our donations have made a difference already and I would encourage every tenant to speak to City Harvest London and join in. There is definitely more we can do.” 

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