First things first


Tuesday, 27 July 2010


Supermarkets Meeting
Wednesday July 21st, Mycenae House.

This community meeting with local supermarkets was to discuss how to promote healthy, locally sourced organic food, as well as about minimizing food waste, packaging and the use of plastics. We invited all the local supermarkets such as Asda, Co-op, Costcutter, Iceland, Lidl, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Poundland, Tesco and Waitrose, as well as talking to the smaller local convenience stores.

The meeting was attended by managers from Asda (Charlton), from the Co-op Supermarket (Greenwich) and Marks & Spencer (Charlton Standard). There was also Mike McNally from Fareshare, and Claire Pritchard from Greenwich Co-operative Development Agency.

The supermarkets managers described various ways in which they were trying to avoid handing out free plastic bags, to reduce plastics & packaging and improve recycling. They said that educating the public is fundamental to progress on eating healthy food and using re-usable shopping bags.

Mike McNally of Fareshare described how the logistics and efficiency required to collect surplus food from supermarkets inside strict time limits. He also described their experience in the legal aspects of public liability, food safety training and health & safety training.

Claire Pritchard of Greenwich Co-operative Development Agency described their educational and training work around healthy food, especially with children and schools, and with disadvantaged groups in food poverty. GCDA are also active promoting local food growing, and running stalls selling locally grown organic food. There are also healthy volunteer networks in Greenwich & Lewisham, linked to the NHS.

The supermarkets present all agreed to take forward the following local initiatives in Greenwich:

1. To be part of International Plastic Bag Free Day on September 11th this year, which is supported by the Marine Conservation Society.
• The supermarkets will display educational publicity posters and material about how plastic bags kill marine life for two weeks before the event. Images are available from the Marine Conservation Society. They can also promote the event through their advertising and in-store promotions.
• On the day, the supermarkets can hand out free hemp UK-sourced bags-for-life with a message. Hemp is a useful crop with many product applications, and was once widely grown in the U.K.. It is easy to grow, and does not require either pesticides or lots of water.
• Apart from this day, supermarkets will always ask customers if they want a plastic bag rather than just give them one, and keep plastic bags out of sight at the till. There could be a message on the bags.

2. To have in-store promotion of healthy eating menus by the Greenwich Co-operative Development Agency.
• This need not involve hot food
• Insurance is already dealt with, and risk assessments done
• These demonstrations do not involve criticism of other foods

3. To employ Fareshare to take away food at its sell-by date, and to distribute it to local Greenwich & Lewisham groups who are in food poverty.

4. Reducing packaging
• Have in-store bins at the door for customers to discard unnecessary packaging before leaving the store.
• Brown paper bags rather than polythene bags for fruit & veg
• Use more refills
• Ask suppliers to reduce packaging

Marine Conservation Society
Each household in the UK uses around 300 plastic bags every year. In 2008, our volunteers found 8,174 plastic bags in just one Beachwatch weekend. During the 2008 International Coastal Clean-up, which took place in over 100 countries worldwide, nearly 1.4 million plastic bags were found!
Even when we dispose of them correctly, plastic bags are often blown out of bins and landfill sites and end up littering our land and oceans. They never degrade and will remain part of the landscape forever. In the sea, plastic bags look very similar to jellyfish and many birds and marine animals, such as whales and turtles, accidentally eat them. This can cause a blockage in the digestive system and lead to death by starvation.
MCS has made an information pack .pdf about going Plastic Bag Free.
Or you can contact MCS on 01989 561597 / email to receive the information by post.

P.O. Box 396, Brighton, BN1 1SX. 0845 22 44 367
Hemp uses the sun's energy more efficiently than virtually any other planat. Originating from Asia, it has been cultivated by mankind for more than 6000 years and until the late 16th century was our planet's largest agricultural crop and most important industry. Almost every part of the plant was used to provide the overall majority of our fibre, fabric, lighting oil, paper and medicinal needs, as well as being a primary source of essential food oil and protein for humans and animals. Hemp flourishes without the use of pesticides or herbicides, does not need bleaching and recycles very well.

FareShare has been operating since 2004 and today has 12 locations around the UK. Established in 1994 as a project within the homelessness charity Crisis, FareShare aims to help vulnerable groups, whether they are homeless, elderly, children, or other groups in food poverty within our communities.
• Providing quality food - surplus ‘fit for purpose’ product from the food and drink industry - to organisations working with disadvantaged people in the community
• Providing training and education around the essential life skills of safe food preparation and nutrition, and warehouse employability training through FareShare’s Eat Well Live Well programme
• Promoting the message that ‘No Good Food Should Be Wasted

Greenwich Cooperative Development Agency

The Greenwich Co-operative Development Agency (GCDA) exists to develop social and cooperative enterprises. It has been contracted by the London Development Agency to provide free training to increase the levels of healthy and sustainable food provided by public sector caterers.

Transition Greenwich contact is Edward Hill 07890 013379
Transition Lewisham contact is Fran Rogers

1 comment:

Megan Streb said...

Just wondering if you had any success talking to them about sourcing more organic and local food. It's mentioned in the first paragraph, but not in the rest of the article which makes me wonder if they were unwilling/unable to make changes in that area.