I grew up on leftovers and hand-me-downs. Cooking and sewing were as much a part of my curriculum as English and Maths, and when I didn’t have my head in a book I was outside (mostly with my head in a book). As a teenager I was a wannabe-hippy with itchy feet and after finishing high school I set off on that elusive task of ‘finding myself’. At the end of my GAP year I thought I had succeeded: I cancelled my University place and began my career in the hospitality industry. Twelve years down the line I have experience in various aspects of hospitality, catering and events, as well as a First Class degree in Hospitality Management. But I guess you could say I have still been finding myself.
And I find myself here. My work opened my eyes to the quantity of food that goes to waste and ends up in landfill – and catering waste is only an estimated 5% of food waste in the UK (Defra, 2013) – not only at work, but also at home. This led me to pursue a Masters in Social Responsibility and Sustainability where my key area of interest has been the reduction and redistribution of food waste. In this time, I volunteered at a social cafe in my local town which is inspired by the Real Junk Food Project. Here volunteers produce meals from food that would otherwise have gone to waste and customers pay as they feel (or can afford). Leftovers are then given to a local homeless charity. I was also trained by Garden Organic as a Master Composter for my local council, the aim of the game being to promote home composting and encourage people to compost their food waste in order to take control of their own waste and reduce the amount going to landfill. And the great thing about it is anyone can do it! I came at this as a novice with a small flat garden and it is addictive!
I hope through this blog to introduce you to the benefits of home composting and how you can do it successfully in whatever environment you live in. In addition to this I will be looking at other ways to reduce food waste, including recipes, tips, and local, national – and now, international, following my move to Australia! – schemes.