A new and unique zero food waste initiative aims to eliminate household food waste for numerous families in Inishowen.
The Zero Food Waste Kitchen is a four-week programme which aims to create awareness, educate, and provide simple solutions to help communities reduce household food waste and to eat more sustainably.
This innovative pilot was designed by Community Food and Nutrition Officer with Inishowen Development Partnership (IDP) Niamh Britton and is the first initiative of its kind in the county.
“We have a massive problem with waste in Ireland, with one third of all food waste being generated in the home,” explained Niamh.
“Through the Zero Food Waste Kitchen I hope to encourage people to think twice about food, to give them practical tips on food storage and outline best practices for sell by dates etc.
“There are simple changes you can do at home that will make a difference. Things like labelling, checking sell-by dates, emptying your freezer, managing your leftovers, budgeting/planning and composting will all help you manage your food waste in a much more efficient and sustainable way.
“As well as this we will also have a module in the course where we will look at food safety and how food should be stored and used in the best way possible,” added Niamh.
As part of her role in IDP Niamh is responsible for the rolling out of the popular Sláintecare Healthy Food Made Easy (HFME) Programme.
Many of the people that took part in HFME are doing this initial Zero Food Waste programme, however there will be a further programme which will be open and available to the public in November.
“When our HFME groups get together there is always a great camaraderie between the participants so when the opportunity to take part in the Food Waste Programme came up a lot of them were happy to continue – it’s a natural follow on the Healthy Food Made Easy course,” explained Niamh.
“However, we will be opening this up to the public soon – we just need to tie down dates with the facilitators but if anyone wants to register their interest to join this, simply email me or call us at IDP to give your details and we will get back to you in due course.”
As well as rolling out community-based programmes such as this, included in Niamh’s remit in IDP is to help coordinate Inishowen Food Banks as part of the Donegal Food Response Network, which was set up in partnership with the Donegal Local Development Company [DLDC] during the pandemic in 2020.
Since then, the Donegal Food Response Network have teamed up with FoodCloud to help deal with the increasing demand on local food banks. Through FoodCloud’s partnership on the FoodCloud Growers Project fresh produce, which otherwise may have gone to waste, is now re-distributed to the Food Banks in Inishowen, and across Donegal.
“Unfortunately, there is a huge demand on the Food Banks in Carn, Buncrana, Moville and Newtowncunningham in recent months with so many local families having to avail of their services,” explained Niamh.
“Through this initiative with FoodCloud, the Donegal Food Response Network is able to redistribute fresh viable produce which otherwise would have gone to waste so it really ties in with a lot of the work that I am trying to do here in Inishowen.
“This 12-week pilot programme by FoodCloud has been really welcome as it is giving families the choice of getting fresh produce from the food bank instead of processed/canned foods,” added Niamh.
Inishowen’s main food banks are in The Exchange Inishowen, Spraoi agus Sport in Carn, the Moville Family Resource Centre and Trinity Court in Newtowncunningham. To find out more about days and times they are available see www. donegalfoodresponse.ie/team. People can also donate directly to the food banks either by food or cash donations.
MEANWHILE to sign up for the next Zero Waste Programme, due to take place in Carrowmenagh Community Centre in November email firstname.lastname@example.org or call IDP on 074 93-62218.