April 25th, 2022.

Havens Food Cooperative has a double celebration this week after rescuing its 250,000th meal equivalent and being named a finalist in the Seahaven Business Awards - Environment Category.

In April 2020, during the pandemic lockdown period, Havens Food Cooperative started putting together a team of volunteers to 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. This included perfectly edible perishable goods such as fruit, vegetables, bread and other bakery items.
These could not be given to traditional food banks as their life was limited and as most local food banks only open one day per week, the collected food needed to be redistributed within 24 hours.

Now every supermarket from Saltdean to Seaford on the coastal stretch contributes 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 336,900kg of CO2 , prioritising people who might need some support and providing over 14 'pop up pantry partners' such as youth clubs, environmental alliances, schools with free food for their groups and members.

The project is managed by Rebecca Woolven and Fran Lowton and supported by over 25 volunteers. Founder of the Hub, Paula Woolven, 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 the base in Thompson Road in Denton, redistributing and preventing waste.

The project is about to start a 'slow cooker' set of lessons, as cooking in these appliances can save up to 80% of electricity charges, as opposed to traditional oven and hob costs. Families without slow cookers can also apply to receive one free of charge from the Food Cooperative. This incredibly important step forward has been part-funded by Councillor Christine Brett, Chair of Lewes District Council, and will be starting in June as a rapid response to the fuel price hike.

For further information visit www.havenscommunityhub.co.uk/foodcoop
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