A new partnership between The Felix Project and Western International Market (WIM) which recycles surplus fresh produce has saved 20 tonnes of fruit and veg in its first month – the equivalent of 46,000 meals.
The Felix Project – London’s largest food rescue charity – distributes saved food to approximately 1,000 local schools and charities to ‘support those experiencing food insecurity across the capital’.
The organization – which describes its main aim as ‘saving as much fresh food as possible and ensuring vulnerable people and those on low incomes can make healthy meals’ – says the partnership with WIM is a ‘fantastic opportunity’. Each day, vans containing kilos of produce – from satsumas to melons and peppers to tomatoes – deliver to depots across the city. With a waiting list of 630 organizations, demand in the capital is high.
“We are so thrilled with this new partnership and the access it gives us to an incredible array of fresh, healthy and delicious produce,” comments Richard Smith, head of food supply at The Felix Project. “We believe we could secure around 550 tonnes of food in the first year. That’s around 1.3 million meals. This means thousands more people could benefit. The team here have been so generous, giving us free office space and welcoming us as part of the family. We are already building excellent relationships with the traders which will hopefully mean we can ensure even more food is redistributed to those in desperate need.”
Getting Felix deliveries … will be transformational
Around 100 individual traders currently sell produce at WIM. With the collaboration comes the possibility of improving sustainability and significantly reducing food waste for those vendors, as Keith Ward, chairman of the market’s Tenants Association (WIMTA) explains: “Our members sell thousands of tonnes of produce every day, but as with any mass produce market there is a small element of fruit and vegetables which cannot be retailed but are still fit for consumption. Previously contaminated food waste went to landfill and the remainder to an anaerobic digestor company. This new partnership means less waste and less of a negative environmental impact – something I know all the traders are pleased about.”
Hounslow Community Food Box is one charity soon to benefit from the WIM project. “We are so excited about getting food from The Felix Project,” says volunteer Theresa Anderson. “We currently rely on donations and a small budget to create food parcels – but sadly as the need has increased, donations of food and money have fallen, resulting in us having less to give more people. With fruit and vegetables also so expensive it means we cannot give our clients as much of these … products as we would like. Getting Felix deliveries, which will include fresh, healthy produce, will be transformational and mean so much to the people we help.”