In April 2020, during the pandemic lockdown period, Havens Food Cooperative (a project of the Havens Community Hub) started putting together a team of volunteers who would visit supermarkets at night to collect and rapidly redistribute food that had simply reached its ‘best-before’ date and was due to be sent to landfill, creating more Co2 gas and wasting perfectly edible perishable goods such as fruit, vegetables, bread and other bakery items.
These items could not be given to traditional food banks as their still-useable life was limited and most local food banks only open one day per week – the collected food needed to be redistributed within 24 hours.
Starting with only three local stores, the project grew until – in December 2021 – the final supermarket joined the cooperative of stores helping to prevent food waste – and now EVERY single supermarket in the Havens Area (Saltdean to Seaford : 18) on the coastal stretch are contributors to the scheme, helping to prevent over 1 tonne of food from being wasted every week.
The project has redistributed, free of charge, over 108 tonnes of perishable food to the community (preventing 337,000kg of Co2 ), prioritising people who might need some support and providing over 14 ‘pop up pantry partners’ such as youth clubs, environmental alliances, schools and more with free food for their groups and members.
The project is run by Rebecca Woolven and Fran Lowton and is supported by over 25 volunteers. Founder of the Hub, Paula, appeared on ‘Come Dine With Me’ in 2021, cooking with leftover produce, to raise awareness of the project and food waste prevention in general. The project is open 365 days a year and is a never-ending collection and redistribution service. Even on Christmas Day, volunteers can be found at their base in Thompson Road, Denton redistributing and preventing waste.
For more information on Havens Food Cooperative or any of its sister charities please go to www.havenscommunityhub.co.uk
Havens Food Cooperative is also on Facebook and Instagram so please follow and like the pages to keep up to date with the latest news @havensfoodcooperative