Food Rescue Hub, a community taking action on food waste

Food Rescue Hub, a community taking action on food waste

Tracey Banks

Food Rescue Hub is an eco-community on a mission to rescue food from landfill. Born in Hertfordshire, hubs currently run weekly in Hitchin, Stevenage and Welwyn Garden City. 

Their food boutiques are where unsold food, otherwise destined for destruction, is rescued and diverted from the bin, and instead offered to the local community.  Uncooked food is recovered from local food-based businesses and is offered on a pay-as-you-feel (PAYF) basis making it accessible and encouraged to all members of the community.

In addition to the provision of rescued food, they provide regular opportunities to learn about limiting food waste in your own home as well as creating a community of like-minded individuals to come together to share and learn from each other.

Founded by Emma Goulding in March 2019, the community has since made nearly 1500 collections totaling over 50,000kg of food which is equivalent to over 130,000 meals and a saving of over 175,000 CO2 savings.

We asked Emma some quick fire questions to learn more about the hub and tap into her knowledge and experience in Food Waste:

What made you set up the Food Rescue Hub?

I couldn't unsee what I'd seen. I knew that as I sat at the dinner table with this problem (food waste), that as company, I had the opportunity to start a dialogue.

What is your vision for the Food Rescue Hub?

That we are not needed. In the meantime, we are are committed to creating opportunities for people to engage with others about all matters environmental and why action is needed my us all right now. We share, and learn and step forward together in the knowledge that the adventure was worthwhile.

What have you learnt about Food Waste along the way? 

That the people in our communities are the ones who will find and create their solution given the opportunity to be impactful and own the process.

What has surprised you most about the experience?

Epic scale of the food waste catastrophe that goes by and far unheard and unresolved.

What food item(s) is most abundant at the Food Rescue Hubs?

Bread and flour products by a long shot, in fact globally a wasted foodstuff. Cheap, quick and easy to make industrially, store, transport and offer for sale. In the UK vast amounts more bread is produced than is consumed daily and as it's not illegal to waste it, there is nothing currently in place to redress the situation. On every food pick up FRH attends we are offered approximately 50% of the total amount in bread products.

What's your best food waste top tip? (one that works but few people know about/do?)

Throw open the fridge, freezer, cupboard or larder. What needs using up now? That's what's for brekkie, lunch, dinner or dessert.

If there was one thing people should start today to reduce food waste, what is it?

Eat the entirety of the item you have. If you won't get around to it, get it into the freezer so it's not lost. Buy only what you need in fresh items to avoid wasted food, money and time.

What's next for Food Rescue Hub?

It's a super exciting time for us at FRH. Our focus has always been on recovering perfectly good surplus food and making it available to all members of our communities, so they might sit firmly in the pride that they are in fact food rescue heroes and are taking action to prevent our planet's demise. We have launched one hub per year in 3 Hertfordshires towns over the last 3 years. We look forward to assisting others to do the same, allowing them and their communities to ensure no good food ever goes to waste.

 To find out more about Food Rescue Hub, including where to find their hubs and how to volunteer, go to

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