Surplus leeks rescued to help tackle food poverty

British Leek Growers Association chairman Tim Casey hosted a team of volunteer ‘gleaners’ at his farm at Coningsby, Lincolnshire in April 2022.

Gleaners harvest surplus crops that would otherwise be ploughed back into the ground, helping to reduce waste and combat food poverty.  The volunteers hand-pulled, topped and tailed around 3,000kg of surplus leeks.  The vegetables were then placed in crates and distributed to frontline charities and local groups – such as school breakfast clubs, older people’s lunch clubs, homeless shelters, food banks and community cafes – via FareShare’s regional centres.

The initiative was co-ordinated by global voluntary service organisation Lions Club International.  The organisation’s national hunger officer Dr Chris Hibbert commented: “While food bank, community fridges and soup kitchens are well-supported, awareness of food waste generally is still not widely appreciated. We are hoping to develop more opportunities with farms across the country, as well as encourage more volunteers to get involved.

“Another area we are keen to develop is around education of growing, preparing and cooking food as there is an over-reliance on takeaways and pre-prepared food.

“It is important for people to realise that the food we are picking is fresh, nutritious and delicious. It isn’t waste – it is surplus and our aim is to stop it from becoming waste.”