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London food charity makes over 22,000 bottles of juice

By Bethan Grylls

- Last updated on GMT

Laurence's Larder, which was the first to receive the juice, runs a free grocery service on a Tuesday and a healthy two course lunch on a Wednesday
Laurence's Larder, which was the first to receive the juice, runs a free grocery service on a Tuesday and a healthy two course lunch on a Wednesday

Related tags Food waste Beverages Food security

Following a fruit-rescue project last year, London surplus food charity, The Felix Project, teamed up with a Kent juicer to produce its own juice for the first time.

Kent farmer Peter Hall realised he was set to lose tens of thousands of pounds selling his crop to retailers, so rather than pulling up the trees, he donated the entire orchard to the charity.

Between August and October 2023, over 1,000 volunteers helped to pick 2.1 tonnes of plums, 49.9 tonnes of pears and 23.3 tonnes of apples at the site near Marden.

The fruit was collected by Amazon vans and delivered to The Felix Project’s depots across London, where it was then distributed to hundreds of schools and community organisations which support those experiencing food insecurity.

Among the fruit rescued, 36 tonnes of apples were deemed not suitable for eating. However, instead of throwing them away, the charity worked with a Kent juicer to extend its life.

“While these apples were not quite good enough for eating, we knew if we were clever we could still use them,” ​said the charity’s head of food supply, Richard Smith.  

“89% of the charities we support are expecting to see an increase in demand in 2024, It means they are all desperate for more supplies.”

In total, 22,250 bottles of juice were created from the leftover apples, which now have a shelf life of 12 months. These were then delivered to the four Felix depots, with the first shipment of the apple juice sent to local community organisation Laurence’s Larder last week.

The North London based organisation supports more than 200 people each week through its free grocery service and two-course lunch initiative.

Sara-Jane Hussein, who runs the services, said the juice is a welcomed bonus at a time where more and more families are in need of support: “Sadly fresh juice can feel like an unaffordable luxury at the moment, so this will be an amazing treat for the kids.”

Whilst juicing is a first for The Felix Project, Smith says he hopes it’ll be the start of something special: “We hope this will be the first of many techniques we look at to ensure more good food ends up helping people struggling with the cost of living.”

In related news, baker James Eid has helped save more than one million surplus pancakes from being thrown away.

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