In response to a growing reliance on crisis use of food banks, rising fuel poverty, and the inability of community kitchens to function due to logistical complexities, this project aims to address communication, food valorisation, and surplus challenges facing the supply and distribution sides using an innovative technological solution. The project focuses on wonky (damaged) edible fruits which due to their physical characteristics, are of no value to retailers. The project will establish the building blocks of a robust digital platform where local fruit growers are directly linked with community hubs (pantries and kitchens) through real-time updates regarding the availability and type (e.g., organic) of surplus produce in a transparent manner. This platform will ensure that community hubs can readily access surplus produce via existing volunteer mechanisms and distribute nutritious fresh cooked meals to people experiencing hunger. Access to this information would lead to increased output by community hubs, resulting in reduced fuel poverty.
Community hubs play a key role in feeding people who experience food and fuel poverty in the UK. Hubs access surplus food in a variety of forms and sources. Locally sourced food and hot meals preparation provide opportunities to reduce carbon and increase nutrition, targeting poor diet and fuel poverty challenges facing 8.4 million people particularly in the face of job insecurity caused by the pandemic.
Complex supply chains coupled with disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic have resulted in disconnections between local food sources and community hubs. Immediate effects include food insecurity, food waste, and over-reliance on crisis use of food banks.
This project uses STFC technology to establish the building blocks of a unique digital platform that will connect local surplus fruit holders and community hubs. The goal is to optimise the carbon and nutrition value of food distributed in our communities to address supply, distribution, fuel poverty, and transparency challenges.
Science and Technology Facilities Council
Harper Adams University
Quetzal, Hartree Centre, Brunel University London