FoodCycle Connects; the journey of surplus food

This week I followed the journey of our surplus food, from shop, to bike, to charity, to kitchen, to belly (to do it properly I made sure I ate some of the food as well).

I started my food journey with our regular Monday afternoon food collection, joined by a fantastic new volunteer Julie. It was a record Monday collection, two overflowing trailers and two full panniers between us. We collected an array of fruit and vegetables, over 40kg in total.


Past their best perhaps, but edible and otherwise destined for the bin. From start to finish the collection took a couple. It was warm work in the  un-British sunshine (I helped myself to a cold cartoon of fruit juice, just one day past its best before date), but well worth it for the grateful reception we always receive from Borderlands, the recipient of our Monday collection.

“Borderlands Bristol works especially with people seeking asylum in the UK or have become a refugee from other countries; we support people who have been trafficked and trapped in domestic service or the sex industry.”

I was concerned Borderlands wouldn’t be able to make use of all the food, but they were thrilled to see it, as always. The only thing they didn’t need was bread, so we dropped some with a community of people living in tents on route back to our St Pauls trailer storage, and took a couple of loaves home ourselves. We actively encourage volunteers to take a share of the surplus home with them.

On Tuesday morning I joined a team of Borderlands volunteers in the Assisi Centre kitchen, all morning they provide language lessons, cups of tea, board games and general advice and support. I could really feel their tagline ‘from exclusion to belonging’ with friendships formed between asylum seekers/refuges and with volunteers.

Borderlands also receive surplus food from FareShare and Marks and Spencer. They organise their own transport volunteers to collect this, and the dried and chilled goods they often get from these sources complements the fresh fruit and veg we collect perfectly. The dedication the kitchen volunteers show in making use of everything in the kitchen really helped justify the time and effort we put in to collecting it. I questioned if it was worth chopping ALL of the fruit for the salad, ‘would it all get eaten?’, after seeing sad fruit salad end up in the bin far too often. I was assured it would.

Two volunteers are given the responsibility of planning and cooking the meal. They assess what has been donated, and then, to make a tasty and nutritious meal, they buy a few things to supplement, such as chicken, lentils and rice. There’s no point making use of kilograms of surplus food to cook a meal no one wants to eat!

We served a fantastic meal of chicken stew, Italian dahl, curried vegetables, sweetcorn fritters, bean burgers and a salad with beetroot and apple; followed by fruit salad and yogurt. Everything went down well, over 80 people sat down to eat together, with others filling away takeaway containers. And the kitchen volunteers were right, everything did get eaten.

Without the surplus fruit and vegetables we collect, Borderlands limited budget would need to stretch to cover the fruit and vegetables necessary to make a balanced meal, and they certainly can’t afford a fresh fruit salad containing all heaps of strawberries and grapes.

“Food cycle are a brilliant organisation who support us with weekly food donations. Each Monday they deliver the food donations right to our door and then each Tuesday we are able to feed 130 plus people with their generous donations. Without their support we wouldn’t have the financial resources to buy the amount of food they donate to us. We can provide fresh fruit and vegetables within our hot lunch each Tuesday to refugees and asylum seekers through their help.” – Neșe Davidson, Borderlands
Heather, FoodCycle Connects and Cooking Manager

Join the Hub Leader Team!!

With some of our hub leaders setting sail for shores, adventures and pastures new, we’re looking for some new hub leader team members. If you’ve got fresh ideas, energy and enthusiasm, and can keep FoodCycle Bristol’s wheels turning, pans sizzling, and Bristol’s bins empty and bellies full then we’d love to hear from you. There’s a number of different roles available, see below for all the details and how to get involved.

What’s the Hub Leader Team?

We’re a group of dedicated volunteers, passionate about tackling food waste, food poverty and social isolation in Bristol.

There’s lots involved, from managing particular food collection or cooking shifts to make sure our regular community meal runs every Saturday at Barton Hill Settlement, to working on community outreach, liasing with food suppliers and other organisations in Bristol, events co-ordination and much MUCH more. We have different roles, but actually all share responsibility, and take a collaborative approach to getting things done!

There’s some hard work, but it’s loads of fun too. You get to meet lots of new, great people, use and develop a lot of very useful skills (great for the CV and life), save food from the bin, support your local community, and party at our pop ups.

You also get to eat a lot of delicious food.

What roles are available?

We’re currently looking to fill the following roles – click through to the descriptions to see what’s involved for each:

Team Co-ordinator Role Description

Cooking Leader Role Description

Surplus Food Co-Ordinator Role Description

Community Outreach and Engagement Hub Leader Role Description

PR, Marketing and Communications Hub Leader Role Description

Interested? Great, please complete the form here  by 31st June.

If you have any questions then you can send us an email: , or (even better) ask us in person … sign up for a regular volunteer shift on the volunteer rota, and chat to the cooking or cycling manager to find out everything you want to know !

What next?

Please apply by the 31st June. We’ll be in touch, so look out for an email. We will be holding an info session and mini interviews at the beginning of July.


Launch of FoodCycle Connects

FoodCycle Connects has launched!

FoodCycle Connects’ goal is to eliminate food waste by collecting and distributing surplus food, whilst educating and campaigning about food waste issues. We prioritise charities and good causes, but ultimately feed bellies, not bins, anywhere.

We’ve nicknamed this month Mega May, and it certainly has been so far!

Starting Friday 29th (OK, I’m pushing the boundaries of May) we borrowed a smoothie bike, a fully rideable bike with a blender on the back powered by the back wheel, and took part in the world on the plate event at Sefton Park school. The kids loved being actively involved with making the food. The amazing and multi talented Cat visited the school earlier in the week and spoke at their assembly to explain where the food was coming from and why we should be more careful about wasting food at home, she seemed to really get the message across! Both the soup and smoothie were really popular and used around 30kg of surplus fruit and veg!


Saturday 30th, our regular Barton Hill meal. Tasty food and as always, plenty of happy guests and all the left overs, cooked and uncooked, were taken away. Again about 40kg of surplus food put to good use.

3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th May – Collection for FoodJam, part of Bristol’s Food Connections festival. Tag line ‘ Make something to eat whilst moving your feet to the beat’. An electric milk van visiting different areas of Bristol, with a great sound system powered by solar panels, encouraging the community to get involved with making healthy soups and smoothies out of food previously destined for the bin. We collected loads of food and it was an amazing success, especially the smoothies for the kids! (Now ex) Bristol Mayor visited, along with the Police and Crime commisioner and the local TV show. Check out my slot talking about what our fantastic new project will do. 2 min 40s in.

150 kg of beautiful, edible, surplus fruit and veg found a good home.


Wednesday 4th May – Global Justice Now – Growing Power – Whose Food? After the success of last time they asked us to support another talk/discussion on local food production and our food security. We cooked a delicious coconut curry with plantain dumplings, for around 80 people, and had an opportunity to speak at the event.

Left overs got taken home, used around 30kg of food.

Saturday 7th May – Regular Barton Hill meal. Despite the incredibly changeable weather, and delays due to trailer problems we served roast sweet pepper and tomato soup for starter, roast potatoes, plantain and aubergine fritters and guacamole for main, followed by apple and banana cake with (not quite set) chocolate and banana icecream. All vegan!

Lots of leftovers, cooked and uncooked to take away, 50 kg of food cooked or given away.

Monday 9th – First official FoodCycle Connects delivery – Borderlands is a charity supporting refugees and asylum seekers settle to in to the community in Bristol. They rely on donations to serve two meals a week and were very glad for fresh fruit and veg, which is hard for them to come by. Only 15kg of food delivered, but we’ll go to more shops and do better next week!


That was a long week and a bit! Almost 300kg of surplus food cooked or given away! So far the response for our new project has been amazing, so that spurs us on. We’re struggling for volunteers to fill collection shifts during the week, but we will try to push for drop off’s in the evening instead, and we’re hosting our official launch on Thursday night, 7pm, Roll for the Soul  where we hope to engage more volunteers.

Sign up for more information on becoming a FoodCycle Connects volunteers here.

Like our new Facebook page

Pop-Up-Party Restaurant

pop up Jan 2016

Join us for the first Pop Up Restaurant of 2016 on the 27th of Jan! A beautiful evening of food, music, art and community!

Come down to the Kitchen in Bristol city Centre and enjoy a three course meal for just £6

And to top it off we have THE MACACO PROJECT in to give us some funky music and a bit of a dance after the meal.

And did I mention it’s BYOB?

Go to the following link and donate £6 to Foodcycle, leaving your name, to purchase your ticket!

Tickets ensure your place at a table for the three course meal, as well as the musical delights to come afterwards (see below). We’ll only be selling 100 of them, so don’t miss your chance!

Foodcycle are a nationwide charity combating food poverty and food waste. Check out what we achieved in Bristol last year in this little video!

Here’s to a more productive and better 2016! And what a better way to start than with a pop-up-party-restuarant!

The Evening:
From 7.00pm, we’ll be opening our doors for the three-course dinner. This is no normal dinner cooked by a stressed-out chef in a commercial kitchen. This is a lovingly crafted, vegetarian, triple course, ‘waste’ food dinner whipped together by happy voltuneers, interspersed with relaxing music and all in the great foodcycle atmosphere.. and don’t forget: it’s BYOB!

Food will be served from 7.30pm, so don’t be late!

Between courses we’ll be having short talks from local projects and charities that are doing really good work in and around the Bristol area. In no particular order:

The last pop-up lacked a significant explanation of who we are and what we do (must have been because the organisers were working so hard..) So this time round we’ll be discussing what we do, how things have changed in 2016 and new projects we have coming up – it’s very exciting. Here’s a taster of what you can get up to in Foodcycle:

Oxfam attends many of the biggest and best UK music festivals. It’s a fantastic way to give your time and have a great time doing it. Whether you steward, campaign or volunteer in a festival shop, you will be joining a team of thousands, united by a love of live music, desire to have fun and to help others break free from poverty.

And finally, our auditory accompanyment to finish the evening:

The beautiful Macaco Project will be gracing the stage again for an after dinner sway, doling out their own brand of Neo-Soul Hip-Hop, inspired by the greats: D’Angelo and The Fugees. Hear this local, hypnotic music coming straight from the Bristol scene.

Check out their demos below:

Let your mouth and ears melt to the the best three-course, food-waste dinner you’ve ever had. (and burn it off with a boogie afterwards)


Tour de FoodCycle

Tour de FoodCycle

Back in September (some time ago now!) three of the FoodCycle Bristol team rode to Paris and back, trailers in tow, to raise funds and meet up with organisations who are fighting food waste and feeding people as they do it.

Our pictures tell the story best, so we made a short (2½ minute) video of the trip – you can only understand the magnificence of a bike kitchen if you see it, even if it’s through a lens.

You can watch the video here:

This is also a HUGE belated thank you to all the lovely people who offered their legs, homes, time, inspiration, smiles and pennies to support us.

The ride was tough at times, but one thing the film doesn’t mention is how fun it was. Hopefully you can tell that from how happily we talk about our memories.

– Cat, Hattie and Alice

#TourdeFoodCycle Day 1

First day of #TourdeFoodCycle was a massive success!

londonWe had a great time with Brixton People’s Kitchen at Myatt South Summer Festival. We cooked, we taught, we ate, we planted. We then headed East to FoodCycle Peckham where mostly we ate the absolutely delicious food that their awesome volunteers had prepared, and had chats with some of the guests.


We’re now resting up in preparation for the first proper day of cycling tomorrow (eek!) We have two trailers full of food collected from New Covent Garden Market, and surplus donated from FoodCycle Peckham that we’ll be distributing with Brighton Food Waste Collective before we hop on the ferry.

A very big thank you to everyone we’ve met today for the warm welcome, and massive thanks also to everyone who’s sponsored us so far, we’re super grateful.

Tour de FoodCycle

From 6th -11th September FoodCycle Bristol hub leaders Alice, Cat and Hattie will be cycling from London to Paris and back (all 350 miles), to raise money for FoodCycle.

Along the way…

Because we believe that for real change to happen it’s just as important to raise awareness about the food waste problem, and to connect communities, as it is to raise money, we’ll be taking our trusty FoodCycle bike trailers with us.


We’ll be collecting, distributing and cooking surplus food along the way. We’ll be meeting up with people who are feeding bellies not bins in London, Brighton, Paris and Portsmouth. We’ll glean ideas, share stories, tips and experiences, and will have a big surplus food feast in Portsmouth on the way back.

Why Paris?

So why are we heading to Paris?

  1. A new piece of legislation has recently been passed in France requiring supermarkets to donate surplus food to charities for redistribution. We want to see how they do things in France, and meet some of the organisations that redistribute surplus food in Paris – what do they think of the new legislation, and what impacts will it have on their organisations?
  2. In December Paris will host COP 21, ‘the Paris Climate Talks’. COP21 is a crucial conference, as it needs to achieve a new international agreement on the climate.  We want to demonstrated that the road to and from Paris is a sustainable one, full of community initiatives, innovative low carbon solutions. We want to encourage and inspire environmental action.
  3. Paris is pretty lovely, and cycling through the French countryside is definitely the best way to get there.

Why FoodCycle?

You might already be aware that we all help to run FoodCycle Bristol.

FoodCycle is a charity with a simple yet incredibly powerful model that combines surplus food; volunteers; and spare kitchen spaces, to tackle food waste; food poverty and social isolation.

In Bristol, along with the rest of the team and the many wonderful volunteers we put on a three course meal every week at Barton Hill Settlement. We’re constantly spreading the FoodCycle message too through our education and outreach work.

Why do we need your help?

We need your help. We need your help because 15 million tonnes of food is thrown away in the UK every year. We need your help because over 4 million people are affected by food poverty in the UK.

We need your help because together communities can make a difference. And that’s exactly what we’re doing. We need your help to continue this fantastic work, and help to improve and grow the FoodCycle network.

You can donate here:

We massively appreciate all donations. Thank you.

If you would like to meet up along the way, or help out at the Portsmouth Pop-Up then please email:

Island Themed Pop Up Restaurant

Join us for the last Pop Up Restaurant before summer! An ISLAND-THEMED and delectable evening of food, music, art and community on Wednesday 27th May at The Station Kitchen.

pop upIf you want to put six of your finest pounds to a good cause, whilst purchasing yourself a one-way ticket to the food waste island-come-fire-station then look no further. If you want to volunteer – see below!

From 5pm (yes, that’s two more hours than last time), we’ll be opening our doors for y’all to come down and check out what we have on offer. Read on…

From 7.00pm, a three-course dinner will commence. This is no normal dinner cooked by a stressed-out chef in a commercial kitchen. This is a community crafted, triple course, ‘waste’ food dinner magically whipped together by happy volunteers and interspersed with roving jazz.

From around 9.30pm, the tables will move to make way for a right-old shake down, to some of the best self-proclaimed
groove driven fusion music from around the world!

*** The Courtyard – From 5pm ***

A stall from FoodCycle Bristol to showcase our work, give people more information about the hub and allow you all to get involved.

A recurring visitor and a loved project. We invited the £B back to the pop-up so you can sign up and keep the Bristol love in Bristol (because we know you forgot last time!)

If you know your bristolian food waste artists, you’ll no doubt know Mr Joe Munro. An artistic, food-loving watercolour warrior armed with a thin paintbrush and a unique style, here to show off his work.


Our good friends over at Feedback will return once again, this time showcasing the local Gleaning Network. They salvage thousands of tonnes of fresh fruit and vegetables that are wasted on farms every year across the UK and Europe, and direct this fresh, nutritious food to people in need.

*** The Main Course – From 7pm ***

Remember the best three-course, food-waste dinner you’ve ever had? This will be better.

Enjoy the food alongside the horns and strings provided by the University’s own JazzFunkSoul Bristol Society. An eclectic mix of haircuts to complement your eclectic mix of flavours.

Let your mouth and ears tango.


One of our favourite new bands on the scene. They combine dub, afrobeat and hip-hop, sound like a re-worked Fela Kuti of the modern day, are slathered with a caramel voice and are punctuated with the occasional Portuguese chant – you don’t want to miss these guys. Oh, we also have a large PA to go with.

Grab tickets from: 

When all 100 are gone, they’re gone. All £6 minimum. I’m sure you’ll agree that this is a steal at this price so please consider donating more to FoodCycle – to help it grow. It really makes a difference.

The volunteer rota will be up very shortly.

We love you (and food).

A Look at Leftovers

Last week FoodCycle Bristol provided the food at Leftovers; A Farm to Fork Exhibition. The exhibition was curated by Joe Munro. Joe has been documenting the activities of FoodCycle Bristol and many other food projects across Bristol.

The catalyst for his work stems from the rise in both food waste and hunger within the UK. Through the combination of artistic and journalistic practice: ‘Leftovers’ showcased documentary driven artwork that interrogates and challenges our conceptions and knowledge of existing systems of food production, distribution and waste in the UK.

It was a great, engaging evening, challenging people to think about food waste and its impacts. It felt wholly fitting to provide the many attendees with a surplus food dinner, and we hope everyone enjoyed it as much as we did!

Surplus Food and Smoothie Surprises at Bridge Farm School

Following the success of a visit to St. Michael’s primary school last year, we at FoodCycle were keen to embark on some more school excursions. Our recent trip to Bridge Farm Primary School is the beginning of what we hope to develop into a well rounded educational project presented by the Bristol FoodCycle team. School 1

Education is a vital part of our endeavour, however we are fully aware that in practise it is something that we often to become overlooked. Producing a substantial and well-balanced meal out of surplus food at the Sunday kitchen not only provides for those in needs but also demonstrates the extreme quantity that is unnecessarily wasted every week. This being said, it is difficult to consistently convey such a message to the wider public, who often feel (mistakenly) that they are not entitled to eat at the weekly meal. Furthermore, given the fact that the larger proportion of our Sunday customers do come from impoverished backgrounds, the promotion of healthy eating can fall by the wayside in an attempt to fill bellies. We are keen to turn this around and prove that promoting food sustainability and health really do go hand in hand to combat a multitude of issues faced by both the developed and the developing world including food poverty, famine, modern epidemics such as obesity and diabetes as well as environmental issues and climate change.

We can all agree that no matter how rich poor old young food is a universal interest, as well as being a necessity, and can be used to get anyone’s attention. We want to start educating people early, so that the habits of those that have become aware become intrinsic for the next generation. We believe it is crucial for the future state of the planet and its population for young people to be exposed to information regarding sources of their food as well as receiving fundamental nutritional education. It seems insane, given modern western society, that sex education is a fundamental feature in the curriculum throughout the years but theres is very little, if any at all, attention paid to the detrimental effects of poor diet and the consequences of waste and production by the food industry.

Telling kids not to waste food because people are starving in Africa, for example, does not cut it. Not only does it just scratch the surface of such issues, it is a scenario too far removed from their daily lives that sooner or later they cease to be shocked by such facts. Likewise, exposure to people starving on the streets sooner or later becomes part of normal daily life, allowing us to become guilty of ignoring such matters. The best we can do is provoke excitement rather than using pure shock tactics. The combination of excitement and shock upon receiving vast quantities of food to eat and cook with alongside the acknowledgement of the sheer volume of waste is an interesting one and something that has a long-lasting impact.

This is why we decided to go to Bridge Farm primary school, with a collection of surplus produce, in the hope to impart some of this feeling onto some 7-year olds. We were pleasantly surprised by their depth of knowledge about food waste, something which we thought to be quite unique. It would appear that that issues related to waste and the extent to which both the producers and the consumers contribute to the statistics are slowly being elucidated in our society, which is an excellent first step preceding real change. However, we want to go a step further and develop creative skills amongst young children, reignite excitement for food and promote the enjoyment of cooking. The latter of which has declined in recent decades for reasons varying from convenience to lack of knowledge, education and exposure.

Keeping it simple, the school proposed the design of a smoothie or soup which suited us due the high volumes of fruit and vegetables we receive on collection. We introduced the session in the morning by presenting our collection of food and opening up a discussion surrounding the following points; quality of food (what was fit for use and what wasn’t), the key indications of food that shouldn’t be eaten (using sight, smell and touch), and creating and developing ideas for use in meals. We based this activity on the way we conduct our Sunday cook sessions to give the children a contextualised explanation of what we at FoodCycle do whilst allowing them to be involved with their own ideas as much as possible.

school2Given the opportunity to handle the produce and express their ideas caused great excitement, which is exactly what we were hoping for. When it comes to quality, kids tend to be purists, they aren’t worried about sell by dates and can usually tell, with better accuracy than many of our Sunday volunteers, whether something is suitable for human consumption. How is it possible that a bunch of 7-year olds can have more common sense than the average adult? That is a question left unanswered and something for us each to consider individually… Self-questioning many of the decisions we make could go a long way towards true consideration for food and diet related issues.

school3The smoothies were made in the afternoon and served to the parents at the end of the day. The children were also encouraged to take home some of the produce that was not incorporated, which they did as they were brimming with ideas and possible new uses for vegetables or had discovered some obscure vegetable for the first time. We left them with some recipe cards, such as the banana cake recipe for which FoodCycle is famous for. These were designed to be easily followed and incorporated ingredients that are frequently wasted or would be likely to be found in most households. They also included suggestions for substitutions that could be made to encourage creative thinking with cooking. This was also to invoke the idea that recipes do not always have to be followed with such precision and that lack of resources, or allergies and intolerances, should not be a deterrent in the kitchen. We hope to develop these into a series which could become part of an educational package that can be used by schools or in conjunction with future activity days such as this one.

Any ideas are very welcome so if you have any recipes or just want to make some general comments or suggestions relating to food education don’t hesitate to send them to us, you can contact us via our Facebook page or drop us an email:


FoodCycle Bristol

Uniting and Nourishing our Community