Issue 45

Driving Change for a Hunger-Free Future

We have been able to chat with Jonathan, from FareShare Yorkshire, about their collaboration with the Department for Transport to decrease the amount of food waste across Yorkshire.

Jonathan is the Head of Development at FareShare Yorkshire. His strategic priorities are fundraising, food sourcing and the time-critical transportation of food that becomes surplus to commercial requirements for the benefit of 400 frontline charities across Yorkshire.

“A collaboration with Department for Transport came about in 2023 when Jeremy – a civil servant from the HS2 team – brought several colleagues to donate a volunteering day to our team in Leeds. From there he continued to put the word out among other teams and 9 months on from that around 350 civil servants have now donated time to us. This has culminated in a regular scheme where civil servants from DFT and many other civil service bodies come in and help us get good food to good causes.”

Before 2018, Jonathan’s colleagues were limited to the use of volunteers on 3.5 tonne vans to intercept surplus food on a local level, often leaving surplus behind. In response FareShare Yorkshire trialled a Wrap-funded initiative to prove the viability of collecting small, regular amounts of surplus food from various companies across Yorkshire on a staffed 7.5t lorry. This allowed them to make daily, last-minute pickups from different food sites, accumulating significant volumes through small increments.

We collaborate with growers, packers, manufacturers, distributors and retailers to overcome logistical barriers.

This was significant in highlighting the existing logistical challenges to food redistribution and was driven by a waiting list of over 100 charities asking the multi-award-winning charity for support.

“Expanding into logistics became crucial and 6 years on we now operate 7.5 tonne lorries six days a week. We collaborate with growers, packers, manufacturers, distributors and retailers to overcome logistical barriers.  FareShare Yorkshire works with charities that use food to enrich their core work such as fostering community connections or teaching skills. Every kilogram of food we can divert from being wasted into the kitchen of a charity or community group makes a difference to someone’s life.”

This has been an exciting move for both Jonathan and the charity. His role constantly presents puzzles to solve, requiring quick thinking and adaptability. Every day he must consider different logistical variables like remaining shelf life, location of the food, and the storage conditions. Despite the complexity, it offers a constant stream of problem-solving opportunities that are very rewarding to him.

Challenges within his role include navigating crises like the acute shortage of third-party haulage drivers post-pandemic. This necessitated innovative solutions such as deploying more lorries to collect food. He also enjoys collaborating with groups of volunteers, such as the team at the Department for Transport and other organisations that help reduce food waste, especially in Yorkshire.

Asset 4

Department for Transport

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