(Author: Stephanie Mork)
From 2013 to 2017, Eat United has saved over 75,000 kg of food: enough for over 560,000 plates. That’s approximately U$82,500 of food diverted from waste and directed to families that struggle with food access. But what does this actually look like? Where does it all go and how is it actually getting into the bellies of people who need it?
The local communities that receive the rescued fruits and vegetables share it to food-insecure households via Food Banks and also use it to make community meals. Ananda Marga primary school receives approx 100kgs of rescued food twice a week. Once a week, part of this is used to cook a lunch for the 80 children that attend the school. This not only gives kids a nutritious meal, it also teaches them what a nutritious meal looks like, feels like in their bodies and tastes like. This is a really effective way of exposing the children to fresh vegetables and fruits that they do not usually have access to. Once the kids start begging for beetroot and fighting for broccoli it encourages parents to take veggies from the Food Bank and cook them at home too.
[Left: Eat United's Food Bank in Ananda Marga primary school]
The Ananda Marga staff and volunteers have to be creative to come up with recipes for using the food that can inspire the kids, and their parents too! The menu always varies according to what food was rescued that day.
What would you make with these ingredients?
10 heads of lettuce
Potatoes [1 crate]
Tomatoes [1 crate]
Butternut squash [1 crate]
Orange peppers [1 crate]
Plantains [1 crate]
Here’s the plate that the staff at Ananda Marga and volunteers with Eat United came up with. Pretty impressive way to put food in 80 kids mouths!
DISH MADE FROM RESCUED PRODUCE:
Boiled Plantains Frescos made from watermelon
Sliced tomatoes Rice with peppers And a Coconut Curry with Jackfruit and Potato - recipe below!
Any of the leftover ingredients or prepared food is sent home with the kids and the parents when they come to pick up their child at the end of the day.
It is an amazing process to see the food come from crates in the market, to the plates of children to nourish their brains and bodies to help them learn and grow. Food is life!
RECIPE: Coconut Curry with Jackfruit and Potato
10 peeled and cubed potatoes
Ripened jackfruit cut into chunks
2 cans of coconut milk
8 smashed teaspoon sized pieces of ginger
Spices: to your taste. You can use a spice mix like Curry Powder or Garam Masala to keep things simple, OR if you want to you can flavour the curry from scratch using 2 tablespoons coriander seeds, 1 tablespoon cumin seeds, 1 tablespoon cardamom seeds, 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns, 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, 1 teaspoon mustard seeds, 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves, 2 dried red chiles, broken in pieces, seeds discarded.)
1. Simmer the jackfruit in the coconut milk for 10-15 minutes
2. Add the potatoes and cook until soft.
3. Add the ginger and spices
4. Add water to change the consistency if desired and let simmer for a little longer.
5. Serve over rice!