Food! Food! Glorious Food!

“…eat and drink: But waste not by excess, for Allah loves not the wasters” [Qur’an, 7:31].

Unfortunately, tonnes of edible food is unnecessarily wasted everyday by major supermarkets across the UK. Yet, the number of families going to sleep on an empty stomach is slowly on the rise, in 2012 an estimated 200,000 Britons were using food banks. There is a simple solution to these contradictory problems and it is called The Real Junk Food Project!

MADE had the opportunity to collaborate with The Real Junk Food Project (TRJFP) in Birmingham; taking students from Darul Uloom, aged 12 to 16, to work in TRJFP’s Ladywood Café. The project aims to reduce food waste by distributing the food to their cafes, where customers pay what they feel. It attracts a number of people by ensuring that everyone gets quality cooked food with an even better service. The children who participated in the day experienced what it was like to work in a busy environment and even had the chance to cook some of the food themselves. Whilst doing all of this we made sure that we discussed the Islamic importance of sharing what we have with others and taking care of the elderly and vulnerable members of our community.

After helping in the café the students also took part in gardening showing them the value of growing organic food. By the end of the day we asked the children what they had thought of the day and what they learnt; many were surprised with the idea that so much food was going to waste for no reason.

“It’s good to see Muslims interacting with other faith groups and helping other members of the community to make a positive impact” – Ibrahim, aged 14.

There are many practical and simple ways in which we can reduce food waste at home, starting by not over-serving to putting foods in the correct places; it’s all about being aware of our actions and not being excessive. We are accountable for everything we buy and eat which is why MADE aims to highlight both the Islamic and environmental value of being smart with the way in which we consume food. However, we are also responsible in ensuring that the food in our homes is as ethical as can be – this means that the food is organic and has gone through fair trade processing.

Undeniably, members of the community who are in a position to help others have a silent accountability in ensuring that everyone is treated with care and humility. The Real Junk Food Project is one way in which people have been involved in creating a better society by enabling a range of people to come together through food. Yet, there are also numerous of other ways to be more ethical with your food, whether it’s buying fair trade products or simply making sure you limit the amount of food you waste.
Niala Hussain

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