Cate Bauer and Nikki Pope kindly arranged for the team from the Real Junk Food Project Manchester to come in and cook a Christmas Feast for our pupils and staff.

The project’s head chef Mary-Ellen McTague has appeared on two series of the BBC’s ‘The Great British Menu’ representing the North West, has won multiple awards for her cooking and also worked with Heston Blumenthal before opening her own restaurant Aumbry, in Prestwich. The project’s founder and director Corin Bell has been an active campaigner for a number of years, including leading Manchester Friends of the Earth’s sustainable food campaign for 2 years, and brings knowledge and experience of the current regulatory and policy framework around food waste and food poverty to the project.

Real Junk Food Manchester began in May 2014 with the aim of stamping out food waste in Manchester, and supporting some of the city’s most vulnerable residents with access to hot nutritious meals. The project diverts food destined for waste and uses it to create delicious and healthy meals.

• It is estimated that around one third of all of the food that we produce is wasted; this amounts to around 1.3 billion tonnes of food being lost or wasted each year globally (UN Food & Agriculture Report 2011)
• In Britain alone an estimated 15 million tonnes of food wasted from the plough to the plate.
• An estimated 20 to 40% of UK fruit and vegetables rejected even before they reach the shops – mostly because they do not match the supermarkets’ excessively strict cosmetic standards.
• There are nearly one billion malnourished people in the world, but the approximately 40 million tonnes of food wasted, just by households, retailers and food services in the US each year, would be enough to satisfy the hunger of every one of them.
• 8 million people in the UK live in ‘deep poverty’, making it hard for them to afford every day essentials, including food.
• The water used globally to grow food that is wasted would be enough for the domestic needs (at 200 litres per person per day) of 9 billion people – the number expected on the planet by 2050.
• 10% of rich countries’ greenhouse gas emissions come from growing food that is never eaten.
• UK Households waste around 20% of all the food they buy.
The Real Junk Food Project believes that this has to stop, and it needs to happen in our lifetime, to ensure the next generation do not suffer from our ignorance. The project works with a huge range of food businesses – supermarkets, wholesalers, artisan producers and more – to stop perfectly edible food that cannot be sold from going to waste.

Project’s within the Real Junk Food network work to the same food safety and hygiene standards as any other food business. This includes transporting food and storing it safely, cooking and re-heating safely.

All of the food used was in date, perfectly edible and safe to consume. The vast majority of food that goes to waste is discarded for cosmetic or logistical reasons. The food for this event came from returned, in-date supermarket home deliveries, and wholesale produce with short shelf life (perfectly edible, but too ripe to be used by retailers).

For footage from the amazing event and meal that was arrange for Ramillies Hall School by Cate Bauer and Nikki Pope, and prepared by Head Chef Mary-Ellen McTague of The Real Junk Food Project Manchester please click on the following: (BBC Footage)