FareShare Cymru is a charity based in South Wales that works with growers, producers and manufacturers in the food and drink industry to turn an environmental problem into a social solution. We work to reduce food waste, by diverting any edible surplus food to vulnerable people across our network of community groups and charity members.

Food can become surplus for many reasons, including food approaching its best before date, orders being changed, commercial forecasting changes, packaging changes and promotional items ending. FareShare Cymru takes the food that is donated and process it at our warehouse in Cardiff. The food is then put on to pallets and distributed across a network of members by volunteers.  We work with food businesses of all shapes and sizes, and welcome donations of all food that is still safe to consume but would otherwise go to waste.

In addition to diverting edible food from being wasted, donating to FareShare Cymru can help manufacturers, growers and producers in the food and drink sector to cut their carbon footprint. Not only from reducing the emissions associated with sending food to landfill, but also ensuring the carbon involved in the production of the food is not wasted.

FareShare Cymru is proud of our relationships with local food manufacturers and our team is here to make donating food as convenient as possible. Kirstie Jones at South Caernarfon Creameries explains why they donate their surplus to the charity ‘the economic climate at the minute is putting many families into food and energy poverty across Wales. By donating edible food surplus to FareShare Cymru, you’re not only minimizing the impact on the environment and reducing waste but supporting the most in need in the community. FareShare Cymru always welcomes additional donations of fresh produce. As an essential component of a healthy diet, fresh fruit and vegetables are one of the shopping items that vulnerable people most struggle to access with regularity. TAV’s, a charity that helps the vulnerably housed in Cardiff, is just one of nearly 200 member organisations that benefit from surplus food. Nkini Pulei from the charity says ‘we’ve been able to give people a better diet. I’ve enjoyed the opportunity for people to try new things too. We’ve had things they’ve enjoyed but haven’t been able to afford.

To ensure everyone has access to fresh fruit and vegetables, FareShare Cymru wants to explore the prospect of establishing a gleaning network in Wales. Gleaning sees farms welcoming people onto their sites outside of various crop’s commercial seasons to harvest any leftover crops. As an organisation committed to fighting hunger and tackling food waste, FareShare Cymru believes that gleaning could be an excellent means of achieving this in partnership with the world leading agricultural sector in Wales.

As a not for profit charity, we are constrained by our available resources. With the significant outlays that would be needed at the start, we want to approach tapping into gleaning in a measured and gradual way. In the initial development phase of the project, we want to work with Pick-Your-Own sites or those that already regularly welcome members of the public on-site, allowing us to tap into their expertise, knowledge and experience in this area. We feel that in the development phases that these groups would be able to use their history of working safely to help provide a forum for those looking to do gleaning, and a source of untapped surplus that could be donated to FareShare Cymru.

We also want to speak to local groups that already undertake gleaning activity, and work with them to encourage the surplus produce they glean to be donated to our network of community group and charity members. These groups do not necessarily need to be large-scale operations, and any groups that share our ethos of preventing perfectly edible produce from going to waste. We’d look to use this initial phase to not only encourage donations of fresh produce to vulnerable people, but also learn from their own experiences with gleaning.

As part of our partnership with established gleaning or harvesting groups, and with Pick Your Own sites, we would be delighted to promote their work and generosity through our networks to help encourage further volunteers and raise their profile.

Should the gleaning project be met with enthusiasm amongst both producers and volunteers, we would like to establish it as a regular activity that we could explore with any willing partners that grow fresh produce across Wales. The long-term aim would be for the network to act as an outlet for those looking for volunteering opportunities, or for businesses’ ‘giving’ or volunteering days; as well as providing a regular, reliable outlet for growers looking to cut their waste levels.

We believe that gleaning could help to meet our objectives of not only tackling food waste, but also fighting hunger. With fresh produce being one of the food items that vulnerable people most struggle to access, we want to complement the generosity of the food and drink sector in Wales to change this. Whenever perfectly good produce would otherwise be left to go to waste, we want to make sure this goes to people wherever possible.

We would love to hear from interested growers, farmers, producers and gleaning groups; so if you would like to discuss the project or had any questions, please contact Simon Stranks (Food Sourcing Coordinator, FareShare Cymru) at Simon@FareShare.Cymru or on 07773618174