Making a Difference – Food Waste

Our monthly column of ideas and initiatives that help to combat climate change.

Food waste is responsible for around 6% of global greenhouse gas emissions. As well as being morally indefensible it is also largely avoidable. 

So congratulations to Sandy Marks who has secured a tenancy for one of ACAN’s projects, Alton Community Cupboard, at 3, Westbrook Walk, Alton. The Community Cupboard redistributes surplus food from local supermarkets and everyone is welcome to help themselves. It is open between 11.30 a.m. and 1 p.m. every day except Thursdays and Sundays. It is not a food bank; everyone is welcome, irrespective of their means, and the main aim is to prevent food from being sent to landfill, thus reducing the amount of greenhouse gases.

Alton Community Cupboard, 3 Westbrook Walk, Alton

To find out more, go to Community Cupboard’s Facebook page.

Another suggestion for avoiding food waste comes from ACAN member Steve Gerlach who shares his recipe for using up left-over vegetables:

Wild garlic and cauliflower stalk soup

This recipe uses bits of cauliflower which are sometimes discarded and wild garlic which is in season right now. The quantities, ingredients and timings can be adapted; just use what you’ve got. You could substitute cauliflower with broccoli (again, using the whole stem and stalks) or frozen peas or other green veg.


1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 small carrot, finely chopped

1 stick of celery, finely chopped

Herbs – whatever you might have in the garden, or dried herbs will do. I’m using rosemary, bay leaf and chives

1 tsp finely chopped rosemary

1 heaped tsp of chopped chives, keep some whole chives for garnish

1 small bay leaf

The outer stalks, leaves and stem of a cauliflower. The stem may be quite ‘woody’; slice off the hard parts, do this with stalks too if necessary. Chop the stem and stalks finely, the leafy part can be roughly chopped.

600ml of vegetable stock

40 grams of roughly chopped wild garlic, or more if you want a more pungent flavour; wild garlic is quite subtle in taste. Wash the garlic before using. You can use some garlic flowers for decoration.

100ml milk. This is an optional extra

Knob of butter

Splash of oil – whatever you have


Gently heat the butter and oil in a large pan, add the onion, carrot and celery. Cover the pan and let the veggies sweat down for about 10 minutes. Keep an eye on the mixture as you do not want it to brown.

When the veggies have softened, add the herbs, stir in and cook for one minute so that the herbs flavour the oil and butter.

Add the cauliflower stalks, stems, leaves and vegetable stock, bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes – check that the cauliflower stems are tender.

Add the wild garlic and cook for a further 5 minutes

Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool slightly. Blend the mixture to a smooth consistency. At this point you may want to add some milk to make the soup richer. You may also want to add more water to make the soup thinner – your choice.

Check the seasoning, add salt and pepper to taste.

The soup can be served hot or chilled. Garnish with a couple of chives or wild garlic flowers.