At Caritas Westminster, we are glad that a wonderful side-effect of many of the food projects we support, is that food waste is reduced. Our partnership with the Felix Project for a number of years is one example. Keeping edible food out of landfill is a good way of reducing our society’s impact on the environment.
But recently another Caritas project – Bakhita House – has been doing its bit to reduce food waste through a partnership with CrowdFarming. The women at Bakhita House receive undelivered packages of fruit and vegetables from the company, saving the perishable items from being wasted. CrowdFarming is an organisation which enables consumers across Europe to buy fruit and vegetables directly from farmers – enabling farmers to earn a better profit, being less pressured by the “middle-men” to keep prices, and therefore wages, low.
It all fits with our priority of supporting dignified work. For those who have experienced slavery, its even more vital for them to know that the food they eat has been grown without exploitation. While Bakhita House are enjoying their free deliveries from CrowdFarming, you can look out for the Fairtrade Mark as you do your supermarket shop, for independent reassurance of exploitation-free produce.
But first – find out the impact of the boxes from CrowdFarming on the Bakhita House community, in this blog written by house manager Anna Ringler.
At Caritas Bakhita House we are the most blessed members of the CrowdFarming community in England. Undelivered boxes make their way to our doorstep and every time it feels like Christmas. What’s in the box this time?
We are always feeling spoilt with such wonderful gifts as mangos, avocados, oranges, and mandarin jam, lemons, pomegranates, garlic and olive oil. Oh, once we found even some bottles of wine in a box.
Who are we? We are women who are living and/or working in a refuge for victims of Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery set up in 2015 by Caritas Westminster. Our aim is to help women to grow and to glow. Through therapeutic work and loving care women re-gain self-confidence and trust. Their individual journeys always differ as does the time they stay with us.
When we receive the amazing gifts, we can only imagine the hard work of the farmers throughout the seasons and all the steps of marketing until the products reach the consumer. All your hard work bears so much fruit to the delight of so many people.
At Bakhita House we cook every meal from scratch. Being an international community, we can enjoy dinner every night from a different country. The gifts from the Crowd Farming community enrich our meals. So, there is mango and pineapple salad with red onions and chilli (for those who like it spicy), mango ice cream, mango jam or mango cake.
We use the avocados in various ways. The best quality avocados are made into avocado ice cream enriched with some honey and lemon juice. With other avocados we make them into guacamole, hair masks, and what can’t be used goes into the compost bin – but there is still another use: the stones are used for hair dye. Nothing is wasted. Our garden soil is enriched by decomposed oranges, mangoes and avocados which didn’t make it to the kitchen table.
Over the first lock-down we received all together 34 boxes of oranges. We had freshly squeezed orange juice with our dinners, we made orange marmalade and the best fruits we shared with neighbours and friends. They were delighted to receive such unexpected gifts. The face of the priest in the parish centre near us lit up. He was engaged in leading a number of funerals for parishioners which he found very sad, no balance of weddings and christenings to look forward to.
In enjoying one of the ripe mangos a woman in the refuge told me she was reminded of her childhood in West Africa. A memory of being with her father in a joyful way. She described it as a beautiful moment to keep in her heart.
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