Rosie Boycott, Chair of the London Food Board, talks about her stance on food waste, and what she will be speaking about at RWM in partnership with CIWM this year.
Published in the CIWM Journal September 2013
Rosie makes regular appearances on news and current affairs programmes and was the subject of a one-off documentary on her editorship of the Independent.
She’s chair of the London Food Board, which oversees the implementation of The Mayor’s Food Strategy: Healthy and Sustainable Food for London, published in 2006 (and referred to here as the London Food Strategy) and to co-ordinate work and lead the debate on sustainable food issues in the Capital.
Rosie On Food Waste:
“The food being waste in people’s fridges is shocking, and even though there has been a huge amount of campaigning trying to make people aware of it – I know the figures have been reduced a bit – we’re still throwing away a massive amount.
“One of the reasons why it’s happening is the way that supermarkets are designed; with two for one offers and the sizes of packaging often means that you end up buying more than you can reasonably use. Waste happens within the structure of the supermarket when you are encouraged to buy too much.
“It’s pretty immoral to waste food, I think. We never wasted food when we were kids because we valued it incredibly highly, and I think every one has to realise that this stuff is precious”
“I think that the great elephant in the room is that supermarkets may say that they’re trying to have zero waste policy, but if the consumer cut their waste down to 5 percent, that’s over 20 percent of their bottom line. How will they deal with that?
“Waste is built into the financial structure of the food companies and you can’t dodge that fact. They would like to dodge it, but you can’t.”
Rosie On Chairing The London Food Board:
“I’m incredibly interested in how food works and the importance of food in every aspect of life.
“The Mayor of London’s Food Strategy has a waste team that deals with all kinds of waste, including food waste, and we have a food waste hierarchy system, which is incredibly simple: here’s some food, feed a person, if you can’t, feed an animal, if you can’t feed the earth, if you can’t, go to anaerobic digestion or landfill. This is what we push to try to encourage people to look at how they buy food.
“We have a new business food waste solutions project, which is in partnership with the Sustainable Restaurant Association, which will be public by the time the event [RWM with CIWM] happens. We work with Fairshare, supported work with Tristam Stuart [who is also speaking at the event] on the Feeding of the 5000 and we have six pigs on a city farm that are carefully being reared on food waste, to highlight to challenge a government ruling about stopping pigs having any sort of food waste, which was implemented during the food and mouth outbreak and then was never rescinded.
“The Mayor and the waste team are now looking at taking a carbon approach to waste. So instead of saying let’s measure waste by weight, it’s saying let’s look at waste in terms of it’s carbon impact, because food has a high carbon impact.”
Rosie On RWM with CIWM:
“At the event I’m certainly going to be talking about our [Food Advisory Board] work with the Sustainable Restaurant Association and the business food waste solutions project, where we’re dealing with more business to help them deal with their food waste which is important because, if you’re a big company you probably have your own methods of disposal, but if you’re smaller this isn’t always something that you can afford on your own. So we’ll be looking into projects that link up food waste collections and providing bins and all sorts of things.”
Rosie’s Final Thought
“It’s pretty immoral to waste food, I think. We never wasted food when we were kids because we valued it incredibly highly, and I think every one has to realise that this stuff is precious.”
Rosie will be speaking in the Commerce and Industry Theatre at 11:00 on 10 September at
RWM with CIWM #RWM13
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