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Taste not waste: Meet our ‘on foot’ food collection heroes

If it wasn’t for our food collection heroes, none of our tasty, community meals could happen. They hit the streets, hop on bikes or jump in cars each week to rescue lots of food that would otherwise go to waste. The food often can’t be sold because it is past it’s best before or sell by date, but is still perfectly safe to eat – and delicious! This week we spoke to Anne, an amazing Project Leader who joins the team collecting food on foot, rain or shine, at FoodCycle Islington.

How did you get involved in FoodCycle?

I’ve been involved with Food cycle for 5-6 months now.  I am taking a sabbatical from work and I love to cook, so wanted to find an opportunity where I could use my time and enthusiasm to help at a community level.  I googled “volunteering – cooking” and picked FoodCycle as I am passionate about stopping food waste, and making sure any surplus is routed to those who need it the most.

What keeps you coming back to volunteer each week? 

I was hooked at Islington from week 1 as it was just such good fun!  There is a great team athmosphere, and people are genuinely enthusiastic about cooking a really tasty meal.  I love the challenge of never knowing what is going to turn up from the supermarkets (bergamot and globe artichokes, anyone??) but always being confident that people’s creativity and ingenuity will triumph.

Apart from the smiles and the thanks from the guests, I love the opportunity to spend an entire day just talking about food and cooking, while constantly learning tips and techniques from other members of the team.  I always come home tired but grinning.

What is it like to go from surplus food collection to a tasty community meal?

Let me show you…

Collection at Waitrose Islington



Jessie collecting surplus food from Planet Organic


Surplus food laid out on tables – time to decide what to make!




Time to get chopping!


The menu is ready and looking scrummy.


Lunch is served! Here is the veggie chilli with tortilla and guacamole.


Catherine providing service with a smile


Smiles all round as we’ve served over 30 people!

Inspired by Anne and fancy getting stuck in as a volunteer? Sign up here.

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