First Redbridge Urban Food Festival in Ilford to promote sustainable eating

PUBLISHED: 09:36 14 September 2016

Habiba Ahmed who is one of the organisers of an upcoming urban food festival in Redbridge

Habiba Ahmed who is one of the organisers of an upcoming urban food festival in Redbridge


Community activists are setting up a festival to discourage food waste and promote sustainable fruit and vegetable growing.

Ilford Transition Town, who run the fortnightly green fair, are holding the first Urban Food Festival in the Cranbrook Baptist Church, in Wellesley Road, Ilford, on Saturday.

Volunteers and residents will be showing people how to pickle various foods, holding a community soup making class and teaching about growing fruit and vegetables locally.

Habiba Ahmed, 48, who works for Redbridge recycling contractor Amey, is one of the organisers.

“Every year we throw away seven million tonnes of food, and more than four million tonnes is usable,” Habiba told the Recorder.

“We’re wasting so much food it’s almost criminal. We thought this would be a really nice idea to encourage people to waste less.”

Habiba came up with the festival with Ros Southern, of Sophia Hubs, and other Redbridge activists.

“We are always trying to come up with innovative ways of reducing food waste and we thought this was a great way to get the community involved,” she said.

“We saw all these apple and pear trees that were not being used, and thought all this fruit is going to waste.”

They decided a festival would be the best way to foster community involvement in the scheme.

All the stalls will be run by volunteers and local residents, and will show people easy techniques to chuck out less grub.

The fruit from the trees has now been picked, and fresh juices will be made on site.

Habiba, of Broadmead Road, Woodford Green, will be teaching pickling.

She said: “One thing we will be showing people is how to make compost.

“We chuck out all this food, but instead you can store it and feed it back into the ground.”

The festival is being run as part of the national Love Food Hate Waste campaign.

Habiba added: “We think it’s a great way of encouraging sustainable growing which also benefits the community.”

The event will be in the Cranbrook Baptist Church from noon until 3pm. It is free to attend.

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