This autumn we’ve been collaborating with the North London Waste Authority on a plethora of events, workshops and much more, to reduce food waste through inspiring and fun events across North London.

Pumped about pumpkins

Firstly, North London was the setting for the most in-depth of the 21 Pumpkin Rescue Festivals that took place across the UK this Halloween as part of the Pumpkin Rescue campaign. There were spooky levels of enthusiasm for our pop up pumpkin kitchen at the Angel Central shopping centre in Islington on Saturday 31st October. 1,250 people came along, 900 of whom enjoyed delicious pumpkin soup - all made from surplus pumpkins and squash!

That week 116 people attended cooking workshops, learning new and exciting ways to cook with pumpkin and how to reduce food waste all year round. Almost 100 people attended composting workshops where they learned about everything from composting at home to building bug hotels. 50 people also dropped off old pumpkins at drop off points across North London, where their pumpkins could be left to die in dignity.

Almost 200 people dined at one of the pumpkin pop-up restaurants which sprang up across North London, organised by community cafes, supper clubs and other social enterprises.

We were amazed by the media coverage we received for the events, which included the London Evening Standard, Time Out, ITN London, Islington Gazette, City AM, BBC Radio London, London Live and Sky News Radio. The total circulation of these outlets is over 16.5 million!

The response on social media was similarly positive, showing there is a real appetite for rescuing everyone’s favourite spooky staple. On Twitter alone there were 1283 different accounts tweeting about the #PumpkinRescue, reaching 7.54 million timelines. Instagram activity had a reach of over 100,000 and 10,000 were reached through Facebook.


The Gift of Waste

After the success of the north London Pumpkin Festival, attention now shifts to the Gift of Waste, a series of events as part of the European Week For Waste Reduction (21-29 Nov).

In the run up to Christmas many of us are thinking about how we can give thoughtful gifts without spending too much money or creating unnecessary waste. Something hand-made makes for a special and thoughtful gift. That’s why we’ve organised a host of cooking sessions across North London, focussing on different techniques for preserving food, including fermenting, jam making and pickling. Always wanted to learn how to pickle a cucumber or craft your own chutney? This is your chance!

We’ve teamed up with the Empathy Museum to explore our relationship with food, its abundance and its wastage, in the widest possible sense. On the 28th of November we’ll open the doors to the Human Library of Food at the Brunei Gallery at SOAS Campus. It contains a unique collection of human "books", each representing a different stage of our food's journey from the plot to the plate, and beyond.

Bag to the future

The Bag to the Future installation is an otherworldly hall of mirrors at Somerset House encouraging visitors to ditch their ‘bag habits’ and use reusable bags instead, to reduce the 8.5 billion plastic bags that were used in the UK last year – that’s enough to circle the earth an astonishing 70 times if lined up! (Somerset House, New Wing, 21-29 Nov, 10am-6pm).

Finally we’ve been collaborating with the SOAS Food Studies Centre on a Gift of Waste cookery book and anthropological exploration of the kitchens of north London and how they avoid waste, written by food writer Anna Colquhoun, author of Eat Slow Britain and consultant on BBC Radio 4's The Kitchen Cabinet. It will be available on 22 November.

Thanks to the North London Waste Authority for the opportunity to partner on this fantastic range of events, showing that North London is at the forefront of solutions to reducing the amount of good food that goes to waste in the UK.

#GiftOfWaste