The Replenish Project: our activities this year

We’re coming to the end of another busy year of the Replenish project and while we are working on lots of plans and ideas for 2022, we wanted to have look back and to share and celebrate our highlights of the year.


A bit about our mission

Feed bellies, not bins

Globally, we’re going through a food waste crisis: one-third of all edible food produced across the world never gets eaten1. This wastage is helping to drive climate change, with food waste being responsible for four times more greenhouse gas emissions than all aeroplane flights put together2.

In the UK, most of this food waste happens at home3, so we’ve set out to help people make the most of their food and do their bit to protect the planet. We collaborate with community groups, schools and other local organisations to organise events that support people to eat well and waste less.

Transform food waste into living compost

Some food waste is inevitable, but most food that doesn’t get eaten can be transformed into compost at home (or in some counties, recycled by your local authority).

Compost is full of life and nutrients that can be added to our soils to support the soil ecosystem and feed our crops – meaning we can literally use waste food to grow more food! By ‘recycling’ our waste at home we also consume less energy and help to protect the environment.

To find out why it’s important not to throw food waste into your general waste bin, and what happens to food waste that gets recycled by the local authority, see here.

Growing our own food

When we buy food in the supermarket, the time, labour and natural resources that went into getting it from farm to fork are almost invisible to us – which can make it hard to appreciate its full value.

We believe that growing some of our own fruit and vegetables can help us to connect with where our food comes from and encourage us to make the most of every last bite.

We also believe that quiet moments spent with our hands in the soil are good for our mental health – so we can feed our souls as well as our bellies!

We’ve been helping people to have a go at growing some of their own fresh produce, whether it is in a back garden, at an allotment, or a few pots of herbs and salad greens on their windowsill.


What have we been up to this year?

Love food, hate waste’ workshops

We’ve been running workshops to support people to make the most of food – such as this session on how to ferment vegetables. Participants learned about how fermentation can give wrinkly vegetables a new lease of life and had a go at fermenting vegetables like cucumbers and runner beans. See our fermentation guide here.

Oxfordshire Pumpkin Festival 2021

About 12.8 million carving pumpkins go uneaten at Halloween each year in the UK. This annual festival encourages people to eat – not bin – their gourd-eous Halloween pumpkins!

Numerous community groups ran pumpkin-themed activities this year- such as a ‘carve and cook’ event organised by the Cherwell Collective. In the springtime, we helped Good Food Oxfordshire to distribute squash growing packs to primary schools and local organisations, so that people could have a go at growing their own!

Awareness-raising events

We’ve worked with a number of community-led groups to organise public events that bring people together and raise awareness around food waste. At this ‘disco soup’ event organised with Abundance Oxford and The Old Fire Station, volunteers fed the public with free soup made from food that would otherwise have gone to waste – all while blasting out disco bangers!

Community cookery classes

We’ve supported local food partnership Good Food Oxfordshire to train up volunteers to run community cookery classes.

Instead of using recipes, the sessions will focus on becoming confident with experimenting in the kitchen and making meals from whatever is available. They will also help people to avoid food waste and enjoy a more plant-based diet that puts vegetables centre stage.

Home growing and composting workshops

We’ve teamed up with community groups to run workshops on home composting. We explored how composting works and different methods to use – from worm farms to bokashi bins. See our composting guide here.

We also delivered workshops on ‘no dig’ gardening with Oxford City Farm, in which we took an (imaginary) deep dive into the soil to explore the ‘soil food web’ – a complex ecosystem that supports the health of plants. We explored how digging disturbs this ecosystem, and how to move to a ‘no dig’ approach using homemade compost.

We’ve helped to organise lessons for local primary schools that give pupils first-hand experience of how food is grown and the importance of making the most of it. The sessions explored the immense journey fruits and vegetables take to get to our plates, how to grow our own potatoes and how we can ‘recycle’ food waste into compost – then use it to grow more food!


Want to stay in touch?

– Sign up to our monthly newsletter:

We share our upcoming events, tips for home growing and cooking, and ideas for avoiding food waste. Sign up here.

– Follow us on social media:

Want to collaborate with us?

We’re always happy to hear from Oxfordshire-based residents and organisations such as community groups, schools and charities who might like to collaborate with us.

Get in touch with our Project Coordinator: anais@cagoxfordshire.org.uk


Sources:

  1. https://www.fao.org/food-loss-and-food-waste/flw-data
  2. https://scotland.lovefoodhatewaste.com/makefoodmatter
  3. https://wrap.org.uk/sites/default/files/2021-10/food-%20surplus-and-%20waste-in-the-%20uk-key-facts-oct-21.pdf

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