What’s up with the name?

Posted on November 25th 2015

Welcome to EighthPlate’s new all-singing all-dancing website and blog. Over the course of our summer surplus food journey we visited seven different festivals, and the question we were asked the most by volunteers, traders and the public alike was: “Why the name?”.

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Our name, and the overwhelming need for this project, came from the shocking statistic that 1 in 8 people on this planet go hungry and are living in food poverty. We aim to fill this empty eighth plate with food that was otherwise destined for landfill.

Who are we?

Our project was born in 2014 and is the brainchild of Fareshare South West and Bristol’s Surplus Supper Club. Never heard of FareShare and the great work they do? Let us tell you a little about them.

FareShare is a national organisation with 20 warehouses across the length and breadth of the country. They receive tonnes of food each week from food producers and a number of supermarkets. Without FareShare this food would be destined for the bin. Instead it’s distributed to over 2000 projects and organisations like schools, rehabilitation centres and food banks.

In 2014 Surplus Supper Club went to festivals armed with food provided by FareShare South West. When it came to the end of the festivals and all the marquees and tents were packed away, they noticed something that made them rather sad.

In the wake of all the fun and glitter, a devastatingly large amount of the food brought in by traders and campers was being senselessly skipped. Spurred on by this disheartening sight FareShare South West decided that something should be done. With the help with The Nationwide Caterers Association , WRAPA Greener Festival and the Esmee Fairbarn Foundation, EighthPlate plate was born.

Why is food waste such a big deal?

There are two main problems surrounding the issue of food waste. The first is that thousands of tonnes of food are thrown away globally every year while thousands of people around the world go hungry. The second is due to the effects of this large amount of waste.

The production, distribution and disposal of food have an incredibly large environmental impact.  Most people don’t realise how many resources are used in the food journey before it ends up on their plate.  The production and distribution of food uses huge amounts of water, fuel and manpower. The disposal of food is responsible for a large chunk of our global emissions. In short food waste is terrible for this world and the people living on it.

So what did we do about it?

By working with seven festivals and hundreds of food traders, we collected over 23 tonnes of usable food and found that on average food traders wasted over 100kg of food per festival. That’s enough food to create around 54,000 meals. This food was then delivered to 357 organisations across the country.

If that amount of food had been allowed to end up in landfill it would have created around 96 tonnes of carbon emissions. That’s roughly the same level of carbon emissions created by 215 flights from London to New York. If you’d like to know more about the food we save, where it went and why food waste at events is such a large problem, take a look at our end of year report.