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On Thursday October 29th, charities, activist groups, and unions across the city united to put on “Feeding the 5000”, with the simple aim of providing 5000 meals to the residents of Brighton and Hove made with food that would have otherwise gone to waste.
Taking place at The Level, a large local park in central Brighton, thousands braved the drizzle and rain to get a hot free vegan meal. Volunteers ran the event, standing over massive pots and vats of oil to cook up a spiced curry that was handed out to over 5000 people.
Fruit, vegetables and all manner of good that were due to be wasted we’re also given out to the people of Brighton, stopping tonnes of food ending up in a landfill.
The food came from local farms and small businesses that had leftover crops or stock.
Groups like Brighton and Hove Food Partnership and the Real Junk Food Project provided cookery lessons and education on waste and cookery, as well as live music and speeches on how we as individuals and the city as a whole can reduce food waste.
As well as all the food being environmentally conscious, bunting was made from recycled and reused paper and wonky crochet fruit and vegetables made from donated wool and yarn decorated the white tents strewn across the level, packed with people learning about food wastage and sheltering from the rain.
The participants cut across Brighton society in an effort to reach as many people as possible and show how we all have a responsibility to reduce our food wastage. The Sussex Students Union were present, along with the University of Brighton to reach out to the student population. The political group Love Activists, who primarily work with the Brighton homeless population were working under the same tent as the Brighton Permaculture Trust, which targets environmentally conscious Brightonians.
Joe, a third year at the University of Sussex said “The events got the whole of Brighton together.”
“I suppose it raises awareness that the amount of food wastage that happens in our modern world. If a parsnip is a wrong shape or something is damaged it gets thrown away. We’ve got an epidemic of poverty and hunger which is a joke…”
Feeding the 5000 started as an initiative in london in 2009, with the project being replicated worldwide. With the tagline “Feed bellies not bins” and the average household throwing away £470 a year’s worth of food in the UK, the project is set to expand further. The event in Brighton is set to move the local agenda on food waste forward, with local politicians hoping to create a new local strategy in the coming months to prevent or redistribute food waste.
Emily, also a third year echoed the sentiments of the thousands of people who attended, saying “free food is great”