FOOD and drink businesses have given their backing to a project set to shine a light on sustainability and slash food waste in the north of Northamptonshire.
The Full Circle project, made possible through funding from the UK Community Renewal Fund, is providing farmers, producers, suppliers and food retailers with a trio of online platforms to help them chart their journey to sustainability and to provide a matchmaking service that will link hospitality businesses with producers and suppliers who have food produce that would otherwise go to waste.
Rachel Mallows, a director of Made in Northamptonshire who also heads the Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards, said: “The statistics are shocking. Over a third of all food produced globally goes to waste, and in the UK, we throw away around 9.5 million tonnes every year.
“When we waste food, we also waste all the energy and water it takes to grow, harvest, transport, and package it. And if food goes to the landfill and rots, it produces methane – a greenhouse gas even more potent than carbon dioxide.”
As well as the interactive platforms the Full Circle project will include a detailed mapping exercise, aiming to create an interactive digital map to chart for the first time all Northamptonshire’s food businesses, food banks and food larders and their location.
Full Circle includes three apps, to which businesses signing up to the project will have access free of charge for 12 months. These are:
Zellar A sustainability audit app that that will enable food and drink organisations to create an online profile and document their sustainability journey;
Food Loop Matching businesses that may be seeking to receive or use food supplies with other businesses that have unwanted produce;
Too Good to Go Linking vulnerable people and food banks with local producers.
The project is being managed by the independent charity Northamptonshire ACRE, which works to improve the quality of life in rural communities, and Made in Northamptonshire.
Jay Davenport, who is managing the project for Made In Northamptonshire, said: “Our aim is to have over 100 businesses from the north of the county signed up to our Full Circle project. We have already an excellent response so if you are in the food and drink sector make sure you do not miss out.”
One of the first to sign up and formally support the project is Ganders Goat, a goat farm based near Rockingham Castle and Corby which produces soap and ice cream. It is the first farm in the UK to use biodegradable and compostable packaging.
“We put sustainability and biodiversity at the forefront of everything we do which is why we are delighted to be involved with and supporting Full Circle,” said Ganders Goat co-founder Ian Horton. “We see the whole process through from beginning to end, from milking our dairy goats to picking the fruits.”
Ms Mallows said: “We want all of you to make conscious decisions about where you buy your food and drink and our apps and interactive map will help you do this. Please spread the word.”