Off To The Market – Following Eat United Volunteers For The Day.
Here at Eat United Nicaragua we reckon everyone should have access to healthy food in sufficient quantities. We think it’s crazy that tonnes of food gets thrown away every day while other people go hungry. That’s why we rescue good food that would otherwise be wasted and share it with communities in need.
How do we do this?
Come with me and I’ll take you on a virtual tour, following our volunteers for the day as they rescue and share fruits and vegetables that would have otherwise been thrown away.
Every Tuesday a handful of Nicaraguan and international volunteers meet bright and early at Mercado Mayoreo, a food market in Managua. For most volunteers Tuesday is our favourite day. We see ourselves as a ‘family’ of volunteers, market vendors and community members so Tuesday is the day we get to spend time with our Eat United Family.
We head off together to where our baskets are stored and put them at our collection point then off we go. We follow the same route every week and enjoy seeing all the vendors that work with us and stopping for a chat along the way. Their support has been incredible and Eat United wouldn’t exist without them. We take what we collect back to a central point where the food is weighed and recorded.
All the food we collect is good to eat, but might not be quite fit for sale. This is because of minor reasons like tomatoes having a small bruise or lettuces with a couple of bad top leaves that simply need to be peeled off. Food spoils quickly in the heat and humidity of Managua so sometimes it is simply a matter of vendors having more food than they can sell before it goes bad.
Every week is different and we never quite know what we are going to end up with. Typically though, we rescue between 250-300kg of food every week. That’s one small market in one part of the world. Can you imagine how much good food is thrown out all over the world every day?
We don`t have our own vehicle right now so every Tuesday we rent one for a few hours. This van gets loaded up with our rescue food and then the volunteers pile in – sometimes it can be a bit of a tight squeeze. We then head off to distribute the food to the three communities we work with.
First stop is Ananda Marga School, a primary school in a low-income area of Managua. Much of the food we distribute here is used for a cooking day providing healthy lunches for the children.
Then it’s off to Villa Guadalupe, a new urbanization built two years ago to house the people that formerly lived and worked on Managua’s biggest dump. The housing situation has improved, but the community remains impoverished with 8 out of 10 families reporting they live with very low levels of food security. The food shared here goes to support a soup kitchen which provides lunch for 50 to 70 kids a day.
Finally we visit a camp of ex-sugar cane workers. These people were made ill by over-exposure to pesticides and have set up a make-shift camp to protest for justice. The fruit and veggies Eat United supplies helps provide much needed nutrition for these people.
If you are interested in volunteering with us have a look around the website, connect with us on social media and get in touch via email.