Thousands flocked to Trafalgar Square Friday afternoon for a free lunch of hot curry, vegetables and rice made from food rejected by supermarkets.
Writer Tristram Stuart, in partnership with a variety of UK environmental groups and over 350 volunteers, organised the second “Feeding the 5,000” event to raise food waste awareness and put some wasted food to good use.
Mr Stuart said: “A billion hungry people in the world and all of them can be fed on less than a quarter of the food we waste in Europe and America.
“That is a crisis. But, more importantly, it is a huge opportunity. If we need to reduce our impact on the environment, stopping wasting food is a really easy way to do it.”
In addition to the free curry lunch, volunteers handed out paper bags filled with a variety of fruits and vegetables. Other booths set up in the square gave visitors the opportunity to press and enjoy their own apple juice, bag carrots and potatoes for charity and sign a petition promising to cut down on personal food waste.
Colin Burcombe, Business Development Manager at FareShare, a surplus food charity and partner of the event, said that all the event’s food, though perfectly healthy for consumption, was destined for the landfill because of mislabeling, cosmetic issues, or broken boxes at the factory.
Burcombe added that he thought the turnout on Friday was “fantastic”.
People from all walks of life came out to Trafalgar to enjoy the free food and support the cause.
Greer Gosnell, 23, an MSC student at LSE said: “I’m constantly finishing my friends’ meals because I hate seeing food go in the trash, especially when so many people are going hungry.”
London Mayor Boris Johnson was on hand for the event, posing for photos in front of misshapen carrots and potatoes before enjoying the first bowl of curry.
Kingston resident Des Kay, head of the Save the World Club, was even spotted in the crowd, adorned in a pink wig and pineapple hat, walking alongside one of his signature decorated bicycles.
Kay said he had put his bicycle and fancy dress together that morning and intended to hand out pineapples to members of the crowd.