Charity could get base in New Spitalfields Market to cut food waste


A charity which distributes food to those in need could be offered space at a peppercorn rent so it can collect surplus food from a fruit and vegetable market in East London.

City of London Corporation has an empty 1,018 sq ft space at New Spitalfields Market it manages in Leyton.

It is considering letting City Harvest use the space at a peppercorn rent so it can collect unsold food and reduce waste from the market.

The market has already seen the amount of food waste drop from 7,000 tonnes a year in 2015 to 4,340 tonnes last year.

Market superintendent Ben Milligan said it could be a win-win as it could help to cut down on the amount of food sent from the market for recycling and save money, too.

“Tenants would then see waste disposal costs reduced and City Harvest would provide thousands of meals for those affected by food poverty,” said the Corporation.

The charity is based in West London and takes unsold food, or donated food and distributes it to those in need directly, or through their 300 partner organisations.

A lot of its work is in east London and it has been working with the market since last December and taken two or three tonnes of produce out of the market twice a week which provided more than 4,500 meals for those in need.

The markets committee met this month to consider letting the charity use the space for a peppercorn rent. Other options include charging the full £12,108 rent or offset the rent with a grant from the Corporation’s charitable arm, City Bridge Trust.

According to a report going to the committee: “There are large volumes of waste produce generated by the tenants of New Spitalfields Market.

“This is usually due to natural spoilage of product where a sale has been unachievable, or where there has been an excess of supply.”

It said that waste levels for fruit and vegetables peaked at 7,000 tonnes a year in 2015. It has since dropped to 4,340 tonnes last year.

However the market’s superintendent Ben Milligan wrote in his report “there is still an issue to address”.

Cover image by Rachel Bowles (Creative Commons).