Surplus Feast, a delicious success!

What a day! Saturday 15th October dawned with a beautiful blue sky and crisp freshness to the air for our Surplus Feast; over 300 meals made entirely from food that would otherwise have been wasted.  An early start meant we were set up and ready for our audacious volunteers to join us in General Gordon Square at 9am for the big chop and cook.  FareShare delivered copious amounts of beautiful, quality food and South East London Community Energy provided a solar powered generator, so all our electricity was powered by the sun – the perfectly sustainable day!

Fifteen beautiful people volunteered to help out and help out they did with everything from chopping, washing, cleaning, chatting and generally bringing amazing enthusiasm to raise awareness for such an important cause.

FareShare brought plenty of veg, bread, tins of beans and even jars of curry pastes, jalapeños and 4 crates of beautiful ready-chopped fruit salad that we gave away to the good people of Woolwich, most of whom were appalled to hear the staggering statistics around food that is wasted in this country.   FareShare save good food destined for waste and send it to charities and community groups who transform it into nutritious meals for vulnerable people. The food they redistribute is fresh, quality and in date surplus from the food industry and when you see the volumes of food they are saving, it leaves you speechless.  last year they saved over 90,000 tonnes of food from waste last year alone and helped nearly 2,500 charities!  If you know of a charity that could use excellent quality food for a small membership fee, then get in contact with FareShare to find out how.  Woolwich Common Community Centre is a Food Distribution Hub so you don’t have to go all the way to Deptford to pick it up, but can get it from Woolwich.

Preparations underway

There are loads of reasons why food is wasted along the supply chains, and some of these are unavoidable, but many can be influenced by us, the consumer.  For example, this Sunday volunteers with the Gleaning Network are going to Kent to save over 30,000 tonnes of apples from waste because the weather has slightly blemished their skins and they won’t meet the incredibly high cosmetic standards of the supermarkets.  So as consumers we can put pressure on the supermarkets to sell so-called ‘ugly fruit and veg’, so make sure you buy it!  If you’d like more information about gleaning, then contact or sign up to their info here

A warming bowl of Thai Green Curry

Although there is a lot of waste in supply chains, households throw away 7 million tonnes of food waste every year; costing the average household in the region of £700 a year!  There are loads of things we can do to reduce food waste in our homes from planning better and storing more effectively, writing meal plans and learning new recipes to use up leftovers.  Check out Love Food Hate Waste for loads more tips, ideas and a great app to get you on your way.

We’d like to say a huge THANK YOU to all our volunteers and everyone who supported the event including the Waste Team fro Woolwich who gave out loads of advice around recycling and food composting.  We’re gearing up for the next one, so if you’d like to be involved in any way, or would like more information, contact



The wonderful Angela and surplus food!


Anne, My Tang, Graheme and Toyin debating the heat of the chilli



Talk to us about childhood obesity

Residents in the Royal Borough of Greenwich are being invited to share their views on how children in the borough can be supported to lead healthier lives as part of a new London-wide conversation on childhood obesity.

The Royal Borough of Greenwich has joined councils and NHS organisations across London to launch the Great Weight Debate – a London conversation on childhood obesity.

As part of the campaign, we are encouraging residents to complete a short survey to share your views on what changes you think would help make a difference to the health of children in our borough.

Evidence shows that our environment in London makes it much more challenging for families to make healthy choices. There is widespread availability of cheap, high calorie foods 24/7, portion sizes are larger, unhealthy food is marketed to children and city environments can discourage walking and cycling.

Obesity is a normal response to an abnormal environment and we need to make changes to our environment to make the healthy choice the easy choice.

The Great Weight Debate aims to make residents in Greenwich more aware of this problem and hear what ideas they have for changes that can be made at a community and London-wide level.

Londonweight debate-page-002 has a higher rate of obesity than anywhere else in the country with more than a third of all children in London overweight or obese by the time they leave primary school.


The Royal Borough of Greenwich has the third most overweight or obese reception children amongst London boroughs, and more overweight and obese children between reception age and year 6 than the England and London average.


Obese children are at increased risk of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, pre-diabetes, bone and joint problems and breathing difficulties. Being overweight or obese can affect a child’s mental well-being, lead to low self-esteem and absence from school which can affect their learning.

weight debate-page-003Evidence from global experts highlights that we are living in an abnormal environment where our surroundings make it harder to follow a healthy lifestyle and maintain a healthy weight. For example:


  • On average, 11 to 18 year olds consume three times more than the recommended amount of sugar every day
  • The average child in England spends six hours a day in front of a screen
  • There are 8,000 fried chicken shops in London
  • The average chicken shop meal of chicken, chips and a drink contains 70% of an adult’s daily calories
  • Only 28 per cent of children in England achieve the recommended activity levels


The Great Weight Debate survey can be completed online at:


Find out more about childhood obesity in London and make a pledge to improve your health and wellbeing on the Great Weight Debate website.


Join the Great Weight Debate on twitter using the hashtag #greatweightdebate or email any ideas or thoughts to






Serving up Good Food to Kids this Summer

Tucking into spaghetti Bolognese at Woolwich Common Youth Club

School is well under way, so if you’ve got kids you’ll be back into the swing of it for sure.  But did you know that for many children living in poverty in the UK today, returning to school means they are guaranteed at least one meal a day? During the holidays, many parents in Greenwich find it hard to feed their families. They may skip meals to feed their kids, and many kids are reporting going hungry during this time, which has a real impact on their learning and development – quite apart from it being just morally wrong!

This summer Good Food in Greenwich with partners GCDA, Charlton Athletic Community Trust, and GLL Adventure Playgrounds teamed up with the Mayor’s Fund for London to pilot a scheme to serve free food at 3 clubs over the summer.  It was a fantastic success with nearly 500 meals being provided across 6 weeks.   Using FareShare surplus produce, the excellent Charlton Athletic Community Trust served up healthy meals at 2 of their youth centres twice a week for 6 weeks with fantastic results.  They produced 331 healthy and delicious meals and served 186 unique kids.  But kids eating great food was just one of the amazing results for the communities.  The staff made sure every opportunity was taken to talk to the kids and some safeguarding issues were highlighted, and the food even helped boost numbers of the youth clubs.

holiday meals
Kids enjoying some grub at Plumstead Adventure Playground

We tried a different model with GLL who run the adventure playgrounds. This time we centrally produced the meals at a café run by GCDA and delivered them to Plumstead Adventure Playground where the staff there served the meals to the kids.  This worked really well and the kids tried loads of different foods – curries, vegetable soups, bean chillis and more! All 3 clubs used FareShare produce. FareShare are a charity that save good food destined for waste and send it to charities and community groups who transform it into nutritious meals for vulnerable people. The food they redistribute is fresh, quality and in date surplus from the food industry.

There were some real logistical challenges for both groups, like delivering the food to the correct places, and making sure the food is palatable for the kids of course!  But this small pilot was a way to test some ideas and practices to see what worked, and we are now looking at how we can build on it in the future.  We’ve put in funding bids to try to raise money to deliver a bigger programme next year and offer even more kids the opportunity to have a healthy, delicious meal for free.  If you’re interested in being involved, then please get in touch –



Look what’s been happening in Greenwich this summer!

A huge amount of work is being done by the Royal Borough of Greenwich, in partnership with the Greenwich Cooperative Development Agency and other organisations to help Greenwich become known as a great place for food. Greenwich has many vibrant food markets, festivals, catering and businesses and grows, produces, prepares and shares good food that is healthy, sustainable, affordable and accessible to all.

The Food for Life programme is about making healthy, tasty and sustainable food the norm for all to enjoy, teaching people how it’s grown and cooked, and realising the importance of well-sourced ingredients. The Food for Life programme is currently being rolled out across a number of Royal Greenwich schools, supporting them to provide great lunchtimes and food education and improving eating habits for children and families.

Royal Greenwich school meals are provided by caterer GS Plus, which holds the Gold Food for Life Catering Mark (the highest standard from the Soil Association) for Primary School meals. Having the Gold Catering Mark means that school meals are freshly prepared using ingredients that are seasonal and better for the environment, and of the highest food quality.

To help families eat healthily, this summer, the Royal Borough of Greenwich also hosted a Change4Life Summer Roadshow around the borough. Hundreds of people signed up and took part in fun activities such as the Sugar Smart app and the Sugar Cube Game – kids and adults piled soft giant sugar cubes on top of each other to guess how much sugar is in different food and drinks! The roadshow, delivered by Charlton Athletic Community Trust, visited Royal Greenwich’s busy areas and signposted residents to local services such as Cookery Clubs and Good Food in Greenwich.

There are currently 28 accredited Healthier Catering Commitment outlets around the borough, with more signing up soon! It is a voluntary scheme to help people eat healthily when out and about, through the reduction of salt and fat content in food, smaller portion sizes and low sugar drinks.

The Royal Borough of Greenwich has also launched its Breastfeeding Friendly Scheme. This is designed to make it easier for mums to find places where they can breastfeed their baby when they are out and about in the borough. An incredible 99 organisations (including businesses, food outlets and community settings) have signed up so far and offer a safe and welcoming place for mums who want to breastfeed their babies. You can recognise if a place is Breastfeeding Friendly as it will display the Breastfeeding Friendly Greenwich sticker in the window. To find out where your nearest breastfeeding friendly place is, visit and enter your postcode.

For more information on how to eat healthily in Royal Greenwich, please visit or