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Lindsay Boswell, CEO of FareShare
Lindsay Boswell, CEO of FareShare
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CAMPAIGN HERO: Lindsay Boswell of community food network FareShare

Matilda Lee

21st June, 2011

Inspiring businesses to reuse food that would have otherwise be sent to landfill, the pioneering group FareShare collects and distributes it to homeless shelters: feeding the needy, saving CO2 and diverting waste from landfill

What has been your most successful campaign to date?

Smashing our records last year and increasing the amount of fit to eat, within date, wholesome food that otherwise would have gone to landfill by 28 per cent to 3,600 tonnes and getting it distributed to 700 charities that use food to support those in need. This saved them close to £8 million. This saved 1,800 tonnes of CO2.

What has been your least successful campaign to date?

I guess the same thing as we are still only dealing with about 1 per cent of the potential food available. Why if you were a food manufacturer or distributor would you not want to save money as well as do the ethically and morally correct thing and prioritise getting it eaten by those in need in the UK? We are looking for that tipping point to make this the default behaviour.

What gets you out of bed when you're at your lowest?

Anger and shame. Anger that everyday we have not cracked this problem our landfill sites are being clogged up with food. I am also shamed by the passion, energy and drive of FareShares staff and volunteers. It's a collective energy that is driving this work. I just have the privilege of representing it.

Corporations: work with them or against them?

100 per cent work with them. It's partnership work with food businesses that leads to success for us. Food companies are pretty passionate about their food and
as corporations made up of individuals they don't want to see waste.

What is the best way to motivate people?

Care about what they care about. Have a clear set of values and live those values and give them the freedom to carry out their ideas.

What is the best way of reaching politicians?

At a constituency level. Re-election and local votes is the common denominator for all.....sadly!

What is the most important thing to avoid when campaigning?

Running out of steam and conviction.

Most important thing government could do this year?

Leaving aside the wider political world and concentrating on our areas of interest, it would be to join up policies around social need and environmental reform so that DEFRA set targets for food surpluses diverted to those in need.

Most important thing individuals could do this year?

Local action. Anyone who commutes almost certainly walks past a food retailer with surpluses and a charity or community group that is feeding people. Identify both and provide a simple solution by collecting and
delivering it yourself.

What makes a good campaigner?

Passion and structure.

What (other) campaign has caught your attention recently?

Help for Heroes. Low on corporate feel and high on public ownership letting people add their ideas and energy. Brilliant timing as well.

Who is your campaign hero (past or present)?

Two. From the past, John Steinbeck; The Grapes of Wrath had an impact on public perception of the Great Depression that was seismic and is still influential in today's economic woes, 71 years later.

Present hero is [human rights campaigner] Peter Tatchell for his bravery and persistence. Amazing drive and energy.

 

Further information:

FareShare website

A video on how FareShare works

 

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