Ready, steady, cook… saving the planet and fighting education inequality in the Early Years through food waste

London Early Years Foundation and City Harvest

London Early Years Foundation (LEYF) and City Harvest have shared goals of supporting families from poverty. LEYF do this through education by giving London’s children – especially those most in need- the best start in life by providing access to high quality Early Years Education and Care, and City Harvest do this by redistributing quality, nutritious surplus food to those facing food poverty.

The partners developed an innovative way of utilising surplus food to create a direct financial impact. LEYF used the surplus food to reduce the costs of buying food from for-profit providers in their kitchens, tracked savings made and reinvested into supporting children from disadvantaged backgrounds with additional hours at nursery. The partnership has delivered great outcomes for children, chefs, families, and reduced food waste. City Harvest food has been used for over 60,000 healthy meals for children and has saved ~£5000 over the first three months of the partnership. An unexpected outcome has been that children’s cultural capital has improved through trying new foods. The partnership is now being expanded and will produce over 500,000 meals over the next year, saving £40,000 providing 5 children with a years’ worth of additional hours in nursery.