FareShare, the UK’s largest charity fighting hunger and food waste, has launched a new petition to call on the government to #FeedPeopleFirst. We spoke to Kris Gibbon-Walsh, Food Programmes Manager and Head of Network Partnerships, about this important call to action.
Tell us, in 20 words or fewer, about FareShare – what’s your mission?
FareShare’s mission is to maximise the social good of surplus food by diverting and redistributing it to places that need it the most.
What drives you?
The thing that drives me the most is curiosity. I’m curious about everything, whether it’s people or technology, or the way things work or fit together.
What is your greatest achievement to date?
Overall, I think our greatest achievement is the total amount of food saved from being wasted – last year we redistributed over 28 million meals. Lots of that is down to the honest and trusting collaborations we have with our partners and I’m really proud of that.
What are the challenges you face?
Our biggest challenge is pushing ourselves to be disruptive. We want to work outside our comfort zone, and challenge our own opinions or conceived ideas. Just because we’ve done something well in the past doesn’t mean we’ll automatically do it well in the future.
What are you working on that’s getting you fired up and excited?
What’s really exciting me at the moment is our #feedpeoplefirst petition. In the UK, 1 in 8 people go hungry every day, yet perfectly good food is wasted daily in food production. The goal is to reach 10,000 signatures, so the Government takes action against food waste and offsets the costs of charitable food redistribution. We’re halfway there, so we’re now pushing for the next 5,000 signatures.
Where do you want to take FareShare next?
The big thing here is the balance between growth, reaching more charities, and sustainability. We want to redistribute food in a way that adds real value to those organisations. The key thing is to keep challenging ourselves to grow but grow in the right way to deliver value and impact in the not-for-profit sector.
What can we, as individuals, do to make a difference?
In my opinion the key thing is to read and know more. I think a lot of people try to start making a difference without knowing too much, and actually that can cause as many problems as it can solve. Also, small differences are cumulative and there’s billions of us on this planet, so if you think you can’t make a difference, you’re wrong.
How is what you are doing inspiring change in others?
FareShare was born out of the belief that no good food should go to waste, especially when people are going hungry. So we hope to change the status quo around disposing food and encourage more people to think and act more sustainably.
Can you recommend a life- or game-changing book for our readers?
Yes, Indignez-Vous! by Stephane Hessel. This book changed my thinking. It’s a tiny little book that will take you minutes to read but I think it’s amazing. A lot of Stephane’s thinking was born out of the post-war era when apathy wasn’t a thing, because people had so much to care about. He watched how generation after generation started to become a bit more indifferent, a bit more apathetic about the difference they could make in the world.
What do you listen to when you’re cooking dinner?
Podcasts. Last night it was Waking Up by Sam Harris. He’s a fascinating and insightful American neuroscientist, philosopher and author.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
That people buy people. People will interact with your personality as much as they interact with the data you bring to the table in any conversation in life. Whether you’re talking to someone about being a vegan or reducing their waste or negotiating a multi-million pound contract, if you go people first you’re going to get further.
Can you leave us with who’d be your Eco Hero?
Ellen MacArthur. I think she’s really inspirational and I love the fact that she’s such a polymath – she can turn her hand to anything, whilst maintaining her modesty and thoughtfulness. My heroes are also volunteers and community groups on the ground who get on with their work every day, making such a big difference to the world and never shouting about it.
Our library of environmental pioneers celebrates the actions individuals are taking to combat climate change and move towards a more sustainable future. Head over to the blog to hear from other changemakers such as; Alan Andrews from ClientEarth, Susannah Wood from Solarcentury and Kathleen Roberts, President of the Earth Day Network.