Feeding the 5,000

trafalgar square

November 19th, 2011

I went to an unusual event yesterday, in Trafalgar Square.

free lunch

Free Lunch – Feeding the 5,000.

carrots and potatoes

The event was organised by Tristram Stuart, to highlight the amount of food that the West throws away, annually. As food prices have decreased over the last 40 years, food has become a disposable commodity – apparently a third of Western food is thrown away and wasted.

juice making

To illustrate the quantity of waste, people were given bags of misshapen, but perfectly good carrots and potatoes, rejected by supermarkets, along with pineapples, pumpkins and the juice from ugly apples – all of which would have been otherwise thrown away!


Some pigs were sleeping peacefully in a corner – a considerable amount of waste food is mashed and fed to pigs. I can’t say that I object to the pigs eating these vegetables, they should be fed well if we are going to eat them. What is worrying though, is the amount of food that goes into black dustbin bags and then landfill. I did volunteer to eat one of the pigs, but sadly they weren’t part of the deal.

arthur potts-dawson

Chefs like Arthur Potts-Dawson (of the People’s Supermarket) and

valentine warner

Valentine Warner, were on hand to demonstrate how to make meals out of vegetables lurking in the bottom of the fridge.

curry queue

The event turned out to be popular and a large queue formed for the free lunch made from the rejected supermarket vegetables.


An army of cooks and servers had people fed quite quickly,

vegetable curry

with a delicious vegetable curry.

They are preaching to the converted, as far as I am concerned. I try very hard to eat everything I buy and have a compost bin in the back garden for vegetable peelings, etc. If I have vegetables leftover on a Sundays (when I go to the Farmers Market) then I use them to make stock for the Sunday roast. I’m not criticising though, this is a cause that I fully support. I’d like to see people cooking properly on a daily basis and food being sourced locally. Better food management saves your purse and the planet!

My guilty secret is that I went straight to the butchers and bought a pork pie after eating the vegetable curry – of course it is just round the corner from the People’s Supermarket…

BBC News link
Pledge to reduce food waste
Radio 4 Food Programme considering the impact of Supermarkets on food – November 20th, 2011

About Mad Dog

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8 Responses to Feeding the 5,000

  1. I’d read about this event and I’m so glad you went to it so I could see your photos and read your description. The amount of food wasted in our throw-away society is scandalous, and I try to use everything, although even when I’m conscious of the problem there is still the occasional pot of leftovers that hides too long at the back of the fridge! I’m all in favour of feeding the excess to pigs as they are a great way of recycling unwanted food – it was the way my relatives on smallholdings in west Wales used to produce meat to feed themselves when I was a child.

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks – I’d love to get people growing their own food or buying direct from farmers – the bad guys in all of this are the supermarkets – they have encouraged people to live like this!

  2. What an amazing event and so glad I got to read about it. I´m totally with you on this. As you know, nothing goes to waste here in my house between us, the dogs and the chickens but I am conscious of how much I did throw away before in London. And as for mis shapen vegetables – most of mine look like that anyway!

  3. This is a very nice initiative and a very good detail from you to post it and let us know. I must confess that on Mondays, when I do my groceries, I usually throw away some fruit or veggies that had gone bad. But for now on I will try to use them to make something edible or at least fertilizer for the garden 🙂
    Thanks MD!

  4. Rick Sareen says:

    i think one of the supermarkets is planning to sell misshapen veg.
    go to any market out east of eden and try telling them shape matters ;-))

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