The issue of food waste has been hot news for a while now and it isn't going away anytime soon.

Whereas some talk about diverting food waste for charitable purposes as being an answer to food poverty, others balk at the idea, citing the fact that focusing on surplus food to feed the hungry lets the government off the hook (see these two recent articles from the UK and Canada as examples for arguments against).

I agree with the argument that diverting surplus food shouldn't be seen as the answer to food poverty (see here for my arguments against focusing on downstream solutions to upstream problems) but there are many people doing great work to highlight all the reasons why the amount of food we waste as a society is a scandal (Tristram Stuart explains all here). UK organisations include Feedback, The Real Junk Food Project and Super Kitchen.

 An example menu from FirstBite's community cafe

An example menu from FirstBite's community cafe

I wholeheartedly support projects that take surplus food and do something positive with it, especially if it involves bringing the community together around a healthy, freshly cooked meal.

A few months ago I met Debbie and Mary who were about to set up a community food project called FirstBite in Winchester, Hampshire.

Their first project, a weekly community cafe using only surplus food, was launched in November. I went along before Christmas and it was wonderful to see a whole room of people eating together, making new friends and enjoying delicious, freshly cooked meals.

I'm all too aware that when starting a social enterprise things can get really tough and there are many challenges to overcome. So I met up with Mary and Debbie to find out more about FirstBite and hear what they've learned in the process of starting their enterprise.  

Take a look below at the recording of our chat.