Fare Share: Food Heroes Reducing Waste

Posted by Harriet Knowles Campaigner, Manchester

10th Oct 2012

Who are FareShare?

FareShare is a national charity that works with local Manchester partner, Emerge to share unwanted food. (Emerge is an organisation promoting the three R's, reuse, reduce and recycle and it provides an efficient and effective recycling service for localbusinesses). As part of their waste reduction service, they have partnered with Fareshare to redistribute unwanted food to local organisations that really need it.

Why does this make them local food heroes?

Despite being a relatively small, largely volunteer run organisation, it distributes over 150 tonnes of food per year to local charities, feeding vulnerable people and saving the environment. Without them, tonnes of food would be needlessly converted into animal feed or thrown into a landfill. All of the food distributed is within date, high quality and perishable food is stored in large cooling areas, ensuring freshness.

Going to the warehouse

As soon as you walk into FareShare's sizeable warehouse in Openshaw you are overwhelmed by the sheer amount of food given to the organisation. FareShare works with a range of companies from Kelloggs to smaller wholesalers. Relationships often take years in the making, and Sebastian (an employee of Emerge) told me about the difficulties they sometimes have in convincing companies to donate, 'We've found that it's much easier to work with supermarket depots than local branches, as it much easier for them to make operational decisions. Some companies also get paid to donate their surpluses to be used as animal feed, and we have had to convince that their food could be put to better use.'

FareShare delivers to homeless shelters, primary schools and sheltered housing schemes, ensuring that children and other vulnerable groups can access nutritious foods. Since the recession took hold, FareShare has received a increase in demand from organisations, as they attempt to cope with amount of people suffering from the effects of poverty.

FareShare operations are largely run by a team of dedicated volunteers. They assist the paid staff members in sorting through donations and delivering the food. Volunteers can participate in training programs and gain qualifications, helping them learn new skills to secure paid employment.

Although not always an easy job, Sebastian spoke about the feeling of satisfaction he gets when handing over food to community groups that need it. He believes that there is still more work to be done in educating the food industry to cut down on waste, and it needs to be part of the industry ideology. FareShare is bridging the gap between the food industry and the wider community, and it set for growth in the future.

If you would like to know more please contact them directly, or call Seb Serayet on 0161 223 8200 or 07917 237 537, email: seb@emergemanchester.co.uk

Blog post written by Harriet Knowles

Campaigner, Manchester

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