Introducing our Redistribution Kitchen Wales Project

At FareShare Cymru, we redistribute surplus food that would’ve otherwise gone to waste. The food is delivered to charities across Wales who work to tackle the ever growing presence of poverty. 20% of adults in Wales have experienced food insecurity over the last few years, whilst approximately 400,000 tonnes of mostly edible food is sent to landfill. By redirecting surplus food to those who need it, we’re taking an environmental problem and turning it into a social solution.

Surplus food can be unpredictable and, at times, challenging to use; think giant celeriac, pallets of limes, or 50kg bags of porridge oats. At the beginning of 2023, we made the decision to explore new and innovative ways to access and utilise as much surplus food as possible. From this, the idea for the Redistribution Kitchen Wales Project was born! Funding for the project was awarded by the Sustainable Food Challenge, a partnership between Cardiff Council, Monmouthshire County Council, the Cardiff Capital Region Challenge Fund, and Welsh Government, supported by the SBRI (Small Business Research Initiative) Centre of Excellence. It aims to identify and support projects that can harness the potential of land, technology, and people to increase the sustainable production and supply of locally grown food in the Cardiff Capital Region. 

Situated in Cardiff and Vale College, the project kicked off in January 2024 and runs three days a week, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. During which time, our chefs and volunteers prepare, cook, and package the meals for the charities and community groups and taking part in the trial. Lucas and Stef, our chefs, are experienced and enthusiastic teachers who ensure that volunteers can develop essential culinary skills.

So far, volunteers have devoted more than 145 hours to preparing, chopping, dicing, peeling, and cooking, resulting in over 4,300 meals ready for distribution. We’ve received positive feedback from both volunteers and recipients of the RKW meals; Judith Climer, representing the Michael Climer Legacy Fund at Holy Trinity, has praised the project’s progress:

“The FareShare project is another excellent way to encourage the use of fresh ingredients and appreciate the advantages over processed food choices.”

“The packaging is excellent. Environmentally friendly and degradable but at the same time reusable. This was quite a surprise comment which I heard often. The nature of the packaging encourages people to wash it and reuse it several times.”

Judith Climer, Michael Climer Legacy Fund at Holy Trinity

The meals are made using high-quality ingredients and are nutritionally balanced, providing two of your recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. They’re designed to be accessible and healthy, aiming to encourage individuals to explore new flavours in a cost-effective and convenient way.

Despite our best efforts, the surplus we receive doesn’t always encompass all the necessary ingredients for our meals. As a result, food businesses across Wales have kindly chosen to support us, offering incredibly generous donations of food or assisting in the preparation of more challenging ingredients.

To ensure the sustainability of projects like Redistribution Kitchen Wales, we need a greater supply of food. Currently, our warehouse stocks are low, making it harder to get enough food to the 171 community groups and charities we serve. In order to meet current demand, we need an additional 60 tonnes of surplus food monthly. This is before we consider the 176 community groups currently on our waitlist, eagerly awaiting assistance.

We are looking to expand this project further. Currently, the project is set to end in June, but due to its obvious success so far, we would love to keep it going. The Redistribution Kitchen Wales Project has made a positive impact on local communities, both of environmental and social significance. Thank you to all those involved, suppliers and volunteers and we look forward to future opportunities.