On 22 September 2018, Lions Club International, with Krishna Castle London, organised Leicester’s first ‘Feeding the 5000‘ event in the city centre. The aim of the event was to raise awareness of food waste.

Advertising the event

Feeding the 5,000 in Leicester is by no means the only such event. It also takes place in Calgary, Canada, as well as in other places throughout the world. The aim is the same, namely to raise awareness of the immense food waste problem.

The cooking demonstration is to start

The food distributed was entirely prepared from supermarket rejects, which would have otherwise ended up in landfills.

Serving vegetable curry

A hot and delicious vegetable curry was freely distributed along with bread, pakoras and a healthy salad. Thousands of people sampled the food, which was prepared in huge pots on-site, for everyone to see.

Sampling the food

The event was focussed on environmental protection and recycling, using only recyclable plates and cups as well as wooden spoons. It thus touched on several of the United Nations 17 Global Goals for sustainable development (SDGs), such as No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Good Health and Well-Being, Quality Education, Affordable and Clean Energy, Responsible Consumption and Production and Partnerships to achieve the Goals.

Leicester is at the forefront of environmental protection with the recent opening of the zero-waste shop Nada at St Martin’s Square. The Telegraph has recently published a story ‘Give up meat completely or become a ‘flexitarian’ to save the planet’. This article highlights a much-underreported aspect of the global warming crisis, which could soon, according to this report, exceed the ‘planetary boundaries’.

Bheema the Cook

Kim from Leicester City Council had organised an informative tent with display boards and flyers about recycling. During our discussion with Kim, we were informed that Leicester recycles 90 percent of the city’s waste, even waste from the black wheelie bins. The event was covered by the Leicester Mercury.

It’s about good food going into landfills and reusing it back into the community – Parasurama, Food for All, London

After the collection everything is crunched up and then sorted in a very efficient process, mostly automated, only some items are still sorted by hand. Leicester city has one of the most advanced recycling plants in the UK, with machinery imported from Germany. The recycling plant is located in Beaumont Leys. Kim explained it might be possible to visit the plant and take photos or shoot a short film. We intend to take her up on this offer. Much of the waste used to be sorted by hand as seen in this video from 2010.

Leicester City Council recycling scheme

Another stall displayed a small tabletop fruit press, much like the larger commercial ones. Apples were shredded in a hand shredder and then fed into the fruit press, which compressed the apples to produce fresh, healthy and delicious apple juice, all home and hand-made, no preservatives, stabilizers or any other chemicals. People were happy to taste the freshly pressed juice.

The Apple Juice Press

There was also a bicycle operated blender, the visitor’s favourite display. One had to peddle the bike, which was connected to the blender, thus making one’s own fruit smoothie while at the same time burning some calories.

Pedal-powered smoothie maker

Towards the end of the food festival, the general public was invited to take whatever vegetables were left over from the cooking, such as potatoes, carrots, some huge homegrown marrows, and much more. Even paper bags were provided for people to take home their free veggie shopping.

Taking home leftover vegetables

We were able to shoot our first Vox Pop during the festival, featuring an interview with one of the organisers as well as interviews with members of the public. The filming took place under challenging conditions due to a heavy downpour. Fortunately, we were able to shoot the interviews just prior to the heavy rain, however, the cut-aways had to be shot in and during the rain.