Good food, great idea in Mid Argyll

Saved from landfill, free food available at Blarbuie Woodland.

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Groups in Mid Argyll keen to battle food waste have teamed up with Lochgilphead Co-op to save unsold food from going to landfill.

The ACT Now project, funded by the Climate Challenge Fund, aims to reduce food waste as research indicates that one million tonnes of food is wasted in Scotland every year.

The Co-op’s Foodshare scheme, tying in with the aims of ACT, links stores with not-for-profit groups to donate unsold produce that would otherwise be thrown away.

ACT at Blarbuie Woodland, the project bringing it all together, is the hub of Lochgilphead’s newest Foodshare partnership.

Each day ACT Blarbuie Woodland co-ordinator Bek Hawkby-Whitwell collects unsold ambient food from Lochgilphead Co-op and takes it to polytunnels at the food growing area in Blarbuie Woodland.

She said: ‘Each morning I collect food from the store; one day I might have two cabbages and the next 300 carrots and 60 baking spuds.

‘The foodshare is used by the community and has become a bit of a focal point, with people popping up and having a chat while collecting their veggies.

‘So far we have saved more than 400kg of food from going to landfill and we even have some people donating fresh eggs for people to collect which is fantastic.’

Bek Hawkby-Whitwell, ACT Blarbuie Woodland co-ordinator

Anyone can help themselves to food from the tunnel between 10.30am and 4pm, and check what is up for grabs on the ACT at Blarbuie Woodland Facebook page, which also has recipes shared between users.

Jamie Joyce, project officer for ACT Now, added: ‘Aside from the social issues food waste raises, food that goes to landfill rots and produces methane – a greenhouse gas more potent than carbon dioxide.

‘Working with our Co-op member pioneer, we recently teamed up with the MS Centre in Lochgilphead to ensure any surplus fruit and veg goes to support the centre’s service users. Going by the social media response, this has been well received.

‘The vast majority of food wasted in Scotland comes from households and the Act Now project is looking to build on this Foodshare scheme by supporting Mid Argyll residents in their homes.

‘We have materials and upcoming workshops that will assist in reducing food expenditure and food wastage.’

Lochgilphead Co-op manager Mark Crawford commented: ‘It has been great to see how much food has already been saved from going to landfill through our partnership with ACT Now and ACT at Blarbuie Woodland.

‘One of the Co-op’s mission areas is Fair Access to Food and we believe we are striving towards this through the Foodshare scheme.’