How well are different food aids contributing to society in tackling food waste and feeding the hungry?
‘By wasting edible food you are preventing someone else from eating it’ Stuart, T. (2009).
This has been the driving point to the inspiration of my practical, focusing on the idea that food waste isn’t only an issue for the environment and contributing to reaching its ecological limits but instead is an insult to those of us unfortunate enough to have to worry about where their next meal will be coming from.
The practical will be a statement piece addressing the concerns of high amounts of wasted food against the issue of food poverty in the UK. The food movement of ‘freeganism’ is the inspiration to the practical I will submerse myself in for an entire week. Living like a freegan I will experience the pros and cons of the lifestyle whilst using my culinary skills to hopefully cook up meals that look aesthetically charming and unidentifiable of where it was sourced in order to convey the drastic actions that must be taken to draw a line under the UK’s waste of food. Expressing that the food was still fit for consumption and not for landfill I intend on showing a small fraction of how much edible food is being tossed out.
Approaching the project with a pro-active attitude I want the project to remind people how precious food is to others and to encourage people to think more rationally when throwing food in the bin. Encourage people who are guilty of wasting to re consider better options of avoiding waste or contributing it to someone in need. Also to encourage people living on the breadline that there is no shame to use food banks and ask for help when there is a truly outrageous amount of surplus going to waste.
The documentation of the project through the medium of photography will be how I present my final outcome. Seven meals all sourced from food which were about to begin their journey to landfill where it could have otherwise become a nutritious meal to someone suffering from hunger. Although there is an intended outcome, the aesthetic of the project remains experimental depending on what will be waiting for me in the bins of Leeds.
As well as taking food from supermarket bins, I will be using other resources like asking local independent restaurants for any surplus produce and Leeds Kirkgate market, although it may come across as scavenging I am hoping through doing this I will be informing people of the issue of food waste as well as exploring the political statement.
‘There is increasing scrutiny of the true picture of food aid provision in the UK and the number of people having to access these services. Oxfam and Church Action on Poverty have calculated that 20,247,042 meals were delivered to people in food poverty in 2013/14 by three of the main food aid providers (Trussell Trust, Fareshare and Food Cycle). This is a 54 percent increase on 2012/13, when the same providers distributed just over 13 million meals.’ Cooper N, Purcell S, Jackson R (2014).
To make a statement that whilst the richer people of society and corporations are in the position to live such fruitful lives whilst the poor struggle to feed themselves and live in shame when having to rely on food banks such as Trussel Trust. I want to involve myself into the culture of freeganism on a pro-active level and cooking my meals every day from produce destined for landfill to help me answer the question if freeganism really is contributing to society in a positive way.
‘Waste not want not.’
My intended audience will initially be the bigger corporations who are guilty of wasting food on a larger scale, from huge supermarkets and restaurants. I also want to pinpoint people who waste food every day from their homes without noticing and get people thinking about the issue of food waste. I’m going to incorporate the message ‘waste not want not’ into the final piece so it is a clear message that I am trying to convey.
“People who are using food banks are not scroungers who are cynically trying to work the system. They are drawn from the six million working poor in this country, people who are struggling to make ends meet in low-paid or bitty employment.”
-Revd Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury and patron of Cambridge City Foodbank. Cooper N, Purcell S, Jackson R (2014).
What is the difference between someone making the choice to eat out of a bin in attempts to make a political statement whilst being wealthy enough to afford fine produce and the person who can’t afford to feed their family, must they feel shame to take out of a bin?
My original idea was to start with basic images like this, informing people of shocking statistics whilst using my illustrative skills to demonstrate them visually, although I am not too sure where these would be placed in terms of being effective in reaching audiences, I feel as though I may want to produce something more informative such as a leaflet/zine/book?