5,000 free curries to highlight food waste problem

Dr Colin Sage, Department of Geography, University College Cork, Ms Denise Cahill, Healthy Cities Co-ordinator, Health Promotion Department , HSE – South, Ms. Katherine Harford, NICHE and Chef Mercy Fenton, Picture Clare Keogh
Dr Colin Sage, Department of Geography, University College Cork, Ms Denise Cahill, Healthy Cities Co-ordinator, Health Promotion Department , HSE – South, Ms. Katherine Harford, NICHE and Chef Mercy Fenton, Picture Clare Keogh

Just because it is a wonky shape or isn’t the ‘right’ size doesn’t mean a vegetable isn’t edible.

And on Saturday, March 15, 5,000 people in Cork City will find out there’s no taste difference between a curved carrot and a straight one in an exercise designed to highlight the huge amount of food wasted in this country.

Cork Food Policy Council (CPFC) intends to serve 5,000 free plates of vegetable curry to people in the Grand Parade — all made from food which wouldn’t conform to supermarket norms.

Dr Colin Sage from UCC, who is also CPFC chairman, said ‘Feed the City’ is aimed at making people more aware of how much perfectly edible food is wasted.

“It’s estimated that roughly around a third of food is wasted in this country every year. In America enough is wasted to feed around four million people every day. A lot of it is left to rot because of shape, colour, size and blemishes as retailers have set certain standards,” Dr Sage said.

“We want that food in the food chain. Food surpluses should be distributed to people who need it.”

Ideally he said he’d like to see farmers linking up with community groups to form ‘food hubs’ whereby food which doesn’t conform to certain shapes and sizes is distributed to communities at wholesale prices.

“Farmers would be happy and communities would be happy,” he said.

There will be a wide range of other activities taking place between 10am and 4pm the same day in the Grand Parade.

A 100-seater marquee will be used for cookery demonstrations with Denis Cotter (proprietor of Café Paradiso and author of several books) and Mercy Fenton, former head chef at Jacobs on the Mall and now a food business entrepreneur) confirmed.

Ms Fenton said it didn’t matter what a vegetable looks like “so long as it tastes good”.

“We have got used to conformity. I grow vegetables at home and I use them no matter what they look like,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Central Library will host a series of short talks throughout the day and an exhibition around food will be on display inside the entrance.

A Food Trail will be set up on the concourse outside the library and Grow It Yourself (GIY) Cork will explain how to construct your own raised bed and will demonstrate seed planting and other gardening tips.

* For more information visit www.CorkFoodPolicyCouncil.com

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