From Orchard to Community: The Felix Project’s Juicy Initiative

In a heartening tale of collaboration and ingenuity, London‘s surplus food charity, The Felix Project, has ventured into new territory by producing its own juice, thanks to a remarkable partnership forged with a Kent juicer. 

This initiative stems from a fruit-rescue project initiated last year, which saw the convergence of efforts between The Felix Project and Kent farmer Peter Hall. Facing potential losses selling his crop to retailers, Hall made a benevolent decision – he donated his entire orchard to the charity.

Spanning from August to October 2023, over 1,000 volunteers, including local residents, school groups, and corporate teams, descended upon the orchard near Marden. Armed with crates and enthusiasm, they meticulously picked 2.1 tonnes of plums, 49.9 tonnes of pears, and 23.3 tonnes of apples. 

Amazingly, the air buzzed with purpose as families, friends, and strangers united in the common cause of rescuing surplus fruit.

The fruit, meticulously sorted and inspected, embarked on a journey of generosity. Collected by a fleet of Amazon vans, it traversed the countryside, making its way to The Felix Project’s depots across London. 

There, amidst bustling activity, it found a new purpose – to become a lifeline for those facing food insecurity. From bustling urban neighbourhoods to quiet suburban streets, the fruit graced the tables of hundreds of schools, community centres, and shelters, offering nourishment and hope to those in need.

Among the bounty rescued, 36 tonnes of apples didn’t meet the criteria for direct consumption. However, rather than consign them to waste, The Felix Project embraced innovation

Teaming up with a local juicer in Kent, they embarked on a mission to transform surplus into sustenance. Through careful processing and blending, they turned imperfect apples into liquid gold – 22,250 bottles of pure apple juice, bursting with flavour and nutritional goodness, with a shelf life of 12 months.

This past week marked the inaugural shipment of apple juice to Laurence’s Larder, a North London-based organisation providing essential groceries and meals to over 200 people weekly. 

As crates of juice were unloaded, excitement rippled through the air. For the volunteers and recipients alike, it was more than just a delivery – it was a symbol of solidarity and support in challenging times.

Expressing gratitude, the organisation’s spokesperson spoke of the profound impact such donations have on the community by expressing that fresh juice can feel like an unattainable luxury for many families, but thanks to initiatives like this, they can provide a little taste of joy amidst the hardships.

While juicing represents a new endeavour for The Felix Project, it symbolises the organisation’s commitment to exploring innovative solutions to tackle food insecurity. With 89% of the charities they support anticipating an increase in demand in 2024, such initiatives are not just commendable but imperative in meeting the growing need.

In closing, The Felix Project’s journey from orchard to community exemplifies the power of collaboration, compassion, and resourcefulness in addressing food insecurity. 

As they embark on this new chapter, they envision it as the first of many strides toward ensuring that surplus food continues to nourish and uplift those grappling with the challenges of everyday life.

News Credits: London food charity makes over 22,000 bottles of juice

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