Abundance Wimbledon: Harvest Festival
How Merton fruit-picking project Abundance Wimbledon is tackling food wastage and giving back to the community
Between 33-50% of all food produced globally is never eaten, yet some 800 million people go to bed hungry every night. According to food sharing platform, Olio, if food waste was a country it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, after China and the US. These stats are hard to ignore and much like the issue of single-use plastics, change is needed.
Abundance Wimbledon, a local community project, is helping to tackle food wastage in the local area. The organisation picks and collects surplus fruit from around the borough that would otherwise be wasted and makes jams, chutneys and other delicious treats to sell.
The group also donates and distributes some of the collected fruit to local food banks and charities where possible.
“If we hear of fruit going unwanted in the area, we do our best to get over there and pick it,” explains Abundance Wimbledon co-founder Juliet Boyd.
The Abundance Wimbledon team collects fruit from local parks and private properties. “There is so much fruit to pick just in Wimbledon that was going to waste and thankfully isn’t now.”
On 14 September, Abundance Wimbledon will hold its annual Fruit Day fundraiser at St Mark’s Church in Wimbledon where visitorscan buy the homemade produce and learn more about the organisation.
“It’s a really great family event and is free to attend,” explains Juliet. “On Fruit Day, we will be selling cakes, jams, pies and chutneys and fruit juice made from the fruit we’ve collected from the local area. We have lots of free family activities going on during the day and the ukulele orchestra will also be entertaining visitors. It’s just a lovely community event.”
Juliet started Abundance Wimbledon with co-founder Joyce Pountain in 2011. “People are now much more aware of food wastage being a problem, and food shortage. Our team of pickers has really grown. Picking season usually runs from August until the end of September. The Fruit Day is a great place to find out more about Abundance Wimbledon and how to get involved,” says Juliet.
After picking, the organisation either distributes the fruit to local charities and drop-in centres or uses it to produce goodies that can be sold to raise money. Proceeds help local foodbanks and cover the costs of Abundance Wimbledon – last year the organisation bought two apple trees and a fruit press so the team could begin to make and sell fresh juices at its events.
“We distribute fruit to charities including the drop in centre on Kingston Road, the Wimbledon Guild, and Mitcham and Morden Guild.”
Food Apps You Need to Know About
Along with supporting grass roots initiatives such as Abundance Wimbledon, sustainability groups are encouraging every household to become more mindful about food wastage. The anti-wastage network is growing and in London it’s easier than ever to tap into…
• Karma app enables users to purchase surplus food from restaurants, cafés and grocery stores – such as Coco di Mama, Aubaine, Deliciously Ella – to enjoy for half the regular price.
• Too Good To Go is an app that enables users to search for heavily discounted food from restaurants and cafés ( think Whole Foods, Paul, Foxcroft & Ginger) that is perfectly edible but that stores have to throw out at the end of the day – ideal if you’ve got kids over for tea or you’re hosting brunch.
• Olio enables users to connect with neighbours and residents in a 2km radius so that surplus food and household goods can be shared, not thrown away. Perfect if you’re moving home, going on holiday, have Airbnb leftovers or just some surplus products. App users take a photo of the food, and local users receive an alert. Items can be collected from your home or a public place if you’d prefer. There is also a nonfood section for toiletries, cosmetics, light bulbs, toys, furniture etc.