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How much food do we waste?

Here at Come Scavenge With Me, food waste is one of our key concerns. Not only is the ‘liberation’ of wasted food a central tenet of freeganism, but if there was less waste in the first place, the world would be a better place financially, environmentally and socially.

WRAP, the anti-waste organisation, have provided figures for volumes of food waste in 2006/7 and then 2009. For each of the two twelve-month periods the data is broken down both by category of food/drink, and by whether or not the waste is deemed ‘possibly avoidable’ or ‘unavoidable’.

‘Possibly avoidable’ waste is defined as “food and drink that some people eat and others do not (e.g. bread crusts), or that can
be eaten when a food is prepared in one way but not in another (e.g. potato skins).” ‘Unavoidable’ waste is that “arising from food or drink preparation that is not, and has not been, edible under normal circumstances (e.g. meat bones, egg shells, pineapple skin, tea bags).”

The data for 2009 is based on a model whereby an increase in the volume of sales of a given category of food or drink is assumed to lead to an exactly proportionate increase in volume of waste. For example, if the amount of fresh fruit bought by households in 2009 is 10% greater than it was in 2006/7, the model increases the volume of waste for fresh fruit by 10% over the same period.

In order to make the statistics a little easier to understand, we have put together four charts to illustrate the underlying patterns. You can click on each chart to browse a larger version and explore the numbers in more detail. Read more

Stinging Nettle Eating Pros Wanted

Stinging nettles are a pet hate for many. It conjures up images of tears, scratching, phlegm covered dock leaves and somehow my football always managed to find its way into the centre of a large stinging nettle patch.

So eating them is the last thing I would want to do with the pesty green leaves. But nettle eating is a great tradition down in Dorset, so much so that there is an annual competition to find out who is the Great Stinging Nettle Eating champion.

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Become a Capital Growth Volunteer

We know how scary your first steps into scavenging, freeganism and sustainable living can be – better than most, believe me! Undoing a lifetime of habit and convenience by popping down to your local supermarket is far from easy (we expect this has something to do with why they make billions).

But help is at hand, and who better to guide you into this intimidating but rewarding new lifestyle than London’s newly elected major, Boris?

It is a capital year in London, and not just for the Jubilee celebrations and some little known sporting event, but also for the Capital Growth initiative, which aims to create 2,012 new community growing spaces by the end of the year.

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What Do Pret Say?

Pret A Manger has recently celebrated record profits of £52.4 million (up 14%), leading to the creation of 550 new jobs across 44 new stores around the world, 24 of which will be in the UK, reported the Guardian.

A large part of the brands success has been the preverbal ethical stamp it blazes across its products. In time poor city environments people like to think they can do their bit for society whilst grabbing their lunch to go.

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“Two Hungry Boys” Creator Wins Sustainable Restaurant Award

After the success of Channel 4 documentary “Two Hungry Boys”, the show’s creator has gone on to win The Sustainable Restaurant Association’s Award for Sourcing.

Food writer, broadcaster and campaigner, Hugh Fearnley, has been acknowledged for the minimal impact his Dorset restaurant has had on the environment.

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Top three books to inspire you

Saving money is tough. That money hoarded back through a frugal lifestyle is often spent on time searching out the planet’s finest ingredients and preparing them to perfection.

Shopping a bit further than your local supermarket can become tiresome the temptation to revert back consumerism is great.

But we are on hand to provide a little inspiration through those dark times. Or rather, some very fabulous writers are. Here are three books to inspire you to keep your hands out of your pockets and in the dirt of the cabbage patch.

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Skipping and the law – Part III

A woman was convicted of handling stolen goods after she took discarded food from bins outside a Tesco supermarket

A woman was convicted of handling stolen goods after she took discarded food from bins outside a Tesco supermarket FlickrID:evilnick

Last week we looked in detail at the legal pitfalls that face would-be scavengers. Today we bring you one specific case – that of Sasha Hall, who last June was given a twelve month conditional discharge for handling stolen goods after she took and stored food from a bin outside a Tesco supermarket.

Sasha Hall, 21 at the time, saw that her local Tesco was throwing out thousands of pounds worth of chilled food following a power-cut, and decided to take some for herself and her family. A store manager reported her to the police, who found £215 worth of items in her fridge, including 100 packets of ham.

It would appear to be safe to say that Hall was not what we at Come Scavenge With Me would call a typical freegan, but all the same her case does serve to underline the importance of honesty in what you, as a ‘skipper’ do with the items you take from a bin. Read more

Hoxton restaurant aims to make doggy bag diners’ new best friend

A Hoxton restaurant is taking part in a nationwide campaign to revive the unfashionable doggy bag. The Sustainable Restaurant Association’s (SRA) “Too Good To Waste” campaign aims to reduce the 600,000 tonnes of food thrown out by restaurants each year by 20%.

The Hoxton Apprentice is doing it’s part in the economic down turn by encouraging diners to take their left overs home with them. The doggy bag targets the estimated six tonnes of food discarded by each restaurant every year from diners’ plates.

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Making dandelion pesto…

I never knew you could actually eat dandelion leaves until recently. There are a load in my garden so following a simple recipe I decided to put these weeds to good use and make some pesto pasta.

First, all you need to do is go and pick some dandelions. Most people are unaware that all parts of the plant are edible and some have medical uses. The roots contain starch-like substances that help balance blood sugar levels and the flowers are more commonly known for their use in wine, but they can also make a tasty addition to salad.

I found myself foraging in my garden for this free food. Once I had two handfuls I started making my pesto. Here is the recipe I followed:

INGREDIENTS:

I roughly used about two handfuls of cleaned dandelion leaves (washed with cold water), about a cup of olive oil, a clove of garlic, 40g of pine nuts and a sprinkling of salt plus a heavy dose of Parmesan (you can never have too much cheese!).

METHOD:

I put about half of the dandelions in a food processor and added some olive oil then I mixed it all together for a few minutes. Next up I added the rest of the leaves until they were nicely chopped up. While my leaves were blending I grabbed some garlic and pine nuts and put them in the mix. I added Parmesan too until it was all smoothed together like a puree. At this stage it is good to taste what you are making, and then add more salt or oil to taste. You can tell when it is ready by the texture, it will look like pesto should.

Once it was ready, I cooked up some pasta and added some home grown tomatoes. The perfect dinner. The pesto tastes slightly lighter than a basil one and the dandelion have a slight sweetness to them. It is a very fresh and tasty meal. As for storage, it can be refrigerated in a jar for up to four days.  The best thing about this recipe is that it takes no time at all and hardly costs a thing!

‘Appy days…Foraging finds a new platform

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Foraging is officially at one with modern technology as an app has been launched to “inform and inspire” those who want to find out more.

It is called the Foragers Apprentice, released by chef David Beazley who works at the Ashburton Cookery school in Devon. It comes at a grand total of £1.99 – which works out cheaper than an extensive course.

The app is aimed at all kinds of foragers; the company themselves say “there is something for everyone” and it gives hints and tips on where to find the best grub, as well as offerings 25 recipes to eager readers. And these are good recipes too, stuff you would be keen to give a try. For example, blackberry ice cream, crab cakes and wild watercress soup.

There are a range of features on offer too, including a section that shows you what season to look for certain things and if there are any foraging hot-spots nearby. Finally, someone has mapped the best places to find wild food!

Those who are obsessed with all things culinary should download this app, you will be playing with it for hours.  Check out the website and a free demo here: http://www.foragersapp.com