As the nation celebrates the King's birthday, a significant project aimed at addressing the escalating issue of food poverty in the UK has been initiated by the monarch. In an article for The Big Issue, King Charles voiced his concerns about the rising cost of living, which is causing many individuals and families to miss out on nutritious meals.
At the same time, vast quantities of food are being discarded. In the UK, one in five people are uncertain about their next meal, translating to over 13 million people, including four million children, facing food insecurity.
Baroness Louise Casey, a long-time agent of change in homelessness and other social sectors, has been instrumental in this initiative. She has worked with various government administrations and was a key figure in the Everyone In campaign during the pandemic, which helped 15,000 rough sleepers. Recently, she was involved in developing the Coronation Food Project at King Charles' request.
The project's goal is to salvage surplus food from growers, manufacturers, and retailers and redistribute it to organizations that can deliver it to those in need. While millions in the country go hungry, tons of edible food are wasted. King Charles, known for his environmental concerns, also recognizes the importance of food from both an agricultural and a human perspective.
The Coronation Food Project, co-chaired by Casey and Dame Martina Milburn, former chief of The Prince’s Trust, aims to support and expand existing efforts to reduce food waste and use it for social purposes. The project has set ambitious targets, including increasing the capacity to provide 200 million meals a year.
The initiative builds on existing networks like The Felix Project in London and FareShare across the UK, which already redirect surplus food to numerous locations, including homeless shelters, nursing homes, and domestic violence refuges. The project also plans to establish "super hubs" across the country to enhance food distribution logistics.
This project has received cross-party support and addresses the varying circumstances of food poverty across the UK. It highlights the stark reality of food insecurity in Britain and the urgent need for solutions. The Coronation Food Project represents a significant step towards addressing these challenges, relying on the support of donors and the community to make a meaningful impact.