I have a growing concern about the amount of wastage that big supermarkets create with the food they stock. Hundreds, if not, thousands of tonnes of perfectly edible, in-date food is thrown into skips every week, and it has to stop. Firstly, the millions of animals killed per week to supposedly feed Britain are slaughtered for nothing but to be packaged and never consumed. Secondly, there are millions of people living in poverty who are either on the streets or genuinely struggling to feed their family, so this food wastage is both unnecessary and unacceptable.
What I would first like to focus on is the subject of the homeless. I have done some research and spoken to homeless people, as well as having a volunteer place at Women’s Work in Derby starting in September, who deal with female sex workers who are often trafficked, in debt to their pimps or boyfriends, not to mention being emotionally, physically and sexually abused, and more often than not, addicted to drugs. I discussed with one of the leaders the subject of what the women eat, and the answer was nothing, apart from the chocolate bars and cups of tea when they go to the Outreach centre. As they are trapped in a very dangerous lifestyle, they need real food to sustain them. I also feel that if there was more care involved, they are more likely to consider to try and work towards a better lifestyle; to make the conscious decision to stand up for themselves and kick their drug habits. I feel that if they were able to get one meal a day, cooked for them, using what supermarkets would usually waste, they would begin to realise they are worth more than this lifestyle of prostitution, which is never a choice, it is a lifestyle born out of desperation which they are often conned into. For example, many of the young girls and women who come from abroad to work are either kidnapped, sold and trafficked by pimps, boyfriends, or even their family, or they are promised jobs as waitresses or cleaners, for example.
I know that in Paris, they take the food that is wasted from supermarkets and have agreements with local restaurants to cook the food which is then given by outreach centres to the homeless. This will create more jobs in restaurants, as well as giving homeless people a base where they can be fed and get the support they need to get them to a better place in society. When people go without food, they become aggressive and desperate; of course, they are more likely to steal from someone to buy drugs than food, but if we create a network of people who care, for those who need care, they can sit down and have a meal in a normal environment where they are not on the streets, and not displaying threatening behaviour. It will also bring them in to talk to the volunteers and get the advice they need as well as a meal.
All this will contribute to them having a better life while they are on the streets, and hopefully aid them as they work towards a more positive future. After all, to make this change which is often difficult and can involve many relapses if they are drug addicts, they need something to inspire them make this change. I truly believe that if we do this, the number of people on the streets will decrease, and they will begin a transition from being homeless to having a place in society where they are valued and not living in poverty. If we get the right funding, it will create more jobs in restaurants. As this is such an important and beneficial scheme, I do believe that we will get funding from companies, as it shows they are supporting the community and will make them more popular.
While the food wastage includes more than just meat, I know the Green Party are aiming to stop factory farming completely, which as a vegan I totally support this, but some of the food wastage will include factory farmed meat. However, although I think it would be fantastic for the scheme to only cook vegan food to promote an healthy lifestyle, if the unwanted meat was used in the meals, this would be better than it being wasted and rotting in a landfill.
I sincerely hope that we can use this scheme for our community and other communities around the country, and I want to be involved. Please consider the ideas I’ve put forward, as so many people will benefit, and our people, whatever there background, need to be supported somehow and we want the number of people on the streets to be as low as possible.