Feeding the 5000

May 28, 2013

Contributor: Bristol

Resource efficiency – CO2 reduction /  What key behavioural changes to promote to effectively lessen footprint?

Cutting food wastage in Bristol – Fareshare SW a surplus food redistributer raises awareness by providing lots of free lunches on College Green outside City Hall 

Huge quantities of surplus good quality food are routinely sent to landfill. By diverting this to vulnerable people in the city, Fareshare SW are helping to address food poverty in Bristol while reducing waste. http://www.faresharesouthwest.org.uk/feeding-the-5000-at-fareshare-south-west/

The issue of wasted food is well publicised by Fareshares ‘Feeding the 5000’ event, attracting media interest alongside passers by, raising awareness in an enjoyable way. Last year nearly 5,000 people ate free ‘landfill’ lunch on College Green in the city centre with music and speakers on a pleasant sunny day. The next event is planned for 1st June 2013 and organisers anticipates reaching even more people ensuring the issue of food wastage is well publicised with better supported action to address.

Benefits (environmental/social/economical…)

Large quantities of food are prevented from going to landfill, vulnerable people at risk of food poverty are being better provided for, large numbers of volunteers are being reskilled by becoming involved in Fareshares work programme, including all the food preparation for ‘Feeding the 5000, gaining diverse experience from working directly with many different aspects of the food system

Discuss pro and contra…

This is a relatively small operation that needs to be scaled up to make more impact. The likelihood of this happening has improved recently. Food distributers/retailers are increasingly aware of the issue of food poverty as a result of media interest focussing on the recent benefit cuts for vulnerable people.

The issue of food poverty is complex and requires a coherent set of actions.


Redistributed food from food banks has seen increasing demand in UK. Events such as ‘Feeding the 5000’ attract considerable publicity, raising awareness and generating discussion about conventional food systems generally, thereby galvanising support for action.


What other ‘stunts’ have been used to good effect in other cities and has their impact been monitored?