Did you know that a third of all food produced globally goes to waste? And that the food we waste is responsible for roughly 8% of global emissions? Shocking, isn’t it. So when Helen Innes at Food Connect got in touch with Bosch eBike Systems to ask if we wanted to collaborate to help reduce food waste, we simply couldn’t say no.
Food Connect is a food redistribution initiative in Milton Keynes that was founded by London-based charity, Hubbub. They’re using two eCargo bikes and an electric van to share good food with the community that would otherwise have gone to waste. During the national lockdown in the summer of 2020, Food Connect delivered more than 2,000 food parcels to vulnerable households and those who were self-isolating, diverted more than 21 tonnes of food from waste and saved over 1,700 food miles in just 16 weeks.
‘It was something to look forward to - especially if there were treats! It was also so nice to have such wonderful people deliver the food parcels. Every single one of them has been so friendly and has given up time to have a chat.’
- Pearl, food parcel recipient
And what’s more, the delivery team supporting Food Connect offered an essential lifeline to many isolated people. ‘By having the weekly deliveries it really did help fill out the cupboard and was a nice surprise to see what was in our boxes’ said Pearl, one of the many recipients of food parcels during the lockdown. ‘It was something to look forward to - especially if there were treats! It was also so nice to have such wonderful people deliver the food parcels. Every single one of them has been so friendly and has given up time to have a chat.’
‘The Food Connect service makes a huge difference locally.’ says Helen. ‘The amazing thing is that everyone benefits from sharing surplus food. The biggest challenge for Food Connect is the logistics behind collecting the unwanted food and redistributing it quickly via our network of community fridges, to those who need it and those that simply hate to see it go to waste. This is where the eCargo bikes come in – they’re brilliant.’
Food Connect’s mini-fleet of eCargo bikes consists of an Urban Arrow Cargo XL and a Tern GSD with a large trailer – both of which are ePowered by Bosch. By using the eBikes, Food Connect aims not only to tackle the enormous environmental challenge of food waste, but also to contribute to cleaner air for Milton Keynes.
‘I love riding the bikes. Even with a full load they’re just so effortless to ride, and so much fun!’
- Ritchie Dixon, Food Connect collection & delivery rider
Ritchie Dixon is Food Connect’s Urban Arrow Cargo XL rider: ‘I love riding the bikes. Even with a full load they’re just so effortless to ride, and so much fun!’ says Ritchie. ‘My Urban Arrow even has the new Nyon display on it so I can navigate my way around the whole of Milton Keynes without getting lost… which is quite impressive given the number of roundabouts we have here! But I also love the data it gives me – it’s a techie’s dream.’
Don’t let all the smiles fool you though, these guys mean business. Food Connect is a professional outfit: ‘Our drivers and riders are paid a salary, and we’re aiming to develop the service as a local enterprise capable of generating income, with the ambition of creating more green jobs.’ Says Helen. ‘We have big ambitions. And because food waste is such a huge issue, the hope is that the Milton Keynes project is a success and we can implement the service in other areas around the UK.