London Walking Tours    with Joanna Moncrieff

Freebie Friday

A few years ago before pedestrianisation I, and probably a lot of other Londoners, would never have ventured into Trafalgar Square being a destination primarily it seemed for tourists and pigeons.

However since the redevelopment it’s been host to a number of events including this year’s West End Live and the final Harry Potter premiere and for me it is now a regular cut through.
I’m on a bit of a tight budget at the moment so when I heard that there was going to be a free lunch for 5,000 people at Trafalgar Square I was on my way. This was organised by Feeding the 5000 to highlight the amount of waste food that is thrown away each year by consumers and by supermarkets too. Misshapen vegetables are rejected by supermarkets and although some are used for animal feed a lot ends up in landfill. This is outrageous.
We are all guilty of wasting food. According to new research an average family in this country wastes £680 worth of food each year. More facts and figures are here.
Wandering around the square before the event started we picked up some recipe cards from Love Food Hate Waste one of which suggested you used leftover vegetables for a lasagne another suggesting you freeze leftovers which is something I regularly do anyway.
This is the second time the event has run, firstly in 2009, and it was very well organised with a whole team of people serving. Myself and my friend, D, joined the queue dead on 12pm and by 12.20 we were sitting on a bench enjoying the food. Obviously the shape of the vegetables make no difference to the taste so hopefully the 4,998 other people that enjoyed their curries will realise this too and we can harass the supermarkets to let us buy them.
Whilst finishing our food we were aware of being filmed by what looked like a TV camera so if anyone saw us on the news let me know!
Next stop was for some freshly pressed apple juice from some rejected apples – this was delicious too and then we found ourselves surrounded by children pressing free bananas into our hands. These looked perfectly normal.
On continuing our wander around the square I was amazed to bump into someone I hadn’t seen for probably ten years who thankfully recognised me too. C works for FareShare which is a national charity that helps to prevent food poverty and his job at the event was to marshal people into a queue to help them bag misshapen vegetables for distribution to other charities. He had no problem in this as people seemed willing to join the queue presumably not knowing exactly what they were queuing for!
We then left Trafalgar Square to go our separate ways – myself onto the Tea and Coffee Festival at Southbank Centre Square (a few more freebies) and D to work. Before we parted we came across someone giving away free samples of Green & Black chocolate which seemed to be perfect timing.
What a Fab Friday.