Dearest Dublin: Week 3 – Love food, don’t waste food, #FEEDING5K

Pretty excited to share with you about the Feeding5K event I got to take part in this weekend.

The Cause: to promote awareness of Food waste in EU

The Goal: to Feed 5000 Dubliners with a hot meal, fresh pressed apple juice, and campaign against food waste.

I have only been here in Dublin for three weeks and each week I get progressively less adventurous outside the house.  I have become a recluse at home!  In the mornings, I generally try to get up and have breakfast with S.  I tell myself each day that I will go back to sleep, but then I end up surfing various forms of social media and local food websites for hours on end. Through my virtual explorations, I came across feeding the 5000 and was overjoyed that the event hadn’t passed already.

8 AM Friday: We met at Dublin Institute of Technology at the catering kitchen to unload the truckload full of donated vegetables. For over 8 hours, volunteers cut, chopped, bagged, transported all the vegetables to Wolfe Tone Park  for cooking.

6 AM Saturday: Gametime.  Cooking started at 5:30 am! Many volunteers and organizers showed up that morning to set up more tents, tables and event posters.

There were three tents; one for cooking demos and live music, the other informing us about  reducing food waste, and the most important one for serving hot curry, lentil curry dahl, and papadums.

12PM Saturday: Showtime.  Just before mealtime, there was an address & thank you to pump up the volunteers from the organizers, Dublins Mayor- , and the curator of the feeding 5000 movement, Tristram Stuart.  And OFF!

FYI Tristram Stuart is an author (Bloodless Revolution, Uncovering the Global Food Scandal, …), freegan, and active campaigner against food waste.  There is such unnecessary surplus of food in the first world nations.  Please take the time to watch the very compelling TED talk he shares about the different areas where food is being wasted and how we can make a difference.

Kick off: First bowl of curry was served by the Mayor! The whole of saturday afternoon, tireless volunteers were out on the chilly streets telling everyone about the event, serving curry, and helping with food demos.  Despite suspicious sneering and questioning about why the food was free, we tried to get as many people out as possible.  In the end, it was a hugely successful inaugural event!

For me, this was an eye opening event.  Shocking, even.  I am aware of many elements that Tristran talks about, levels of obesity, food waste, problems with first world food systems, etc.  Having work experience in food industry/regulation, nutrition, and Community Kitchen programs in Canada, I am ashamed to say that I haven’t been more active in speaking about the issue.  It does take the awareness of each and every consumer to cause a change in the system.

This weekend we fed 5000 people with food that would otherwise have been wasted.  To my surprise, Bia Foodbank is a young organization of only a couple months.  I am told that Ireland does have some smaller scale food banks and organizations run through churches, but hugely lacks a systematic organized approach for food donation.  Even in my few weeks in town, I’ve seen coffee shops and food outlets offer freebees as the food would otherwise be ‘waste’.  It seems there isn’t a user-friendly way for people to donate food at day’s end.

Thanks Aoibheann and Mindy for bringing this event to Dublin; and Tristran for sharing your conviction with us.  Tristran was a constant reminder for me when I was getting tired and cold outside, not to mention discouraged from the rejection; he stood on the corner of Jervis and Henry street in front of a Macdonalds imploring people to come and campaign against food waste, by just consuming free food!

Thanks to the supporters and sponsors to the event,

Voice of Irish Concern for the Environment (VOICE) is an environmental charity in existence since 1997.  Over the years, we have focused our work on Waste, Water, Fluoride and Forestry.

STOP Food Waste STOP Food Waste is funded under the EPA National Waste Prevention Programme (NWPP).

Bia Food Bank acts and raises awareness on food waste and hunger in Ireland.

Food Glorious Food is a student initiative aiming to create awareness about the food waste problem all over Ireland.

Thanks for the Demos from: Sian’s Plan, Soul Food Company, Cornucopia Restaurant.

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