Did you know that every year, more than half of all pumpkins in the UK do not get eaten? That’s 18,000 tonnes of food waste or enough to make 360 million portions of pumpkin pie! Six years ago, Good Food Oxford and Hubbub thought that was too scary to be accepted – and started #PumpkinRescue.

The annual Oxford Pumpkin Festival is a call to action against food waste and a celebration of the diversity of tasty locally grown pumpkins & squashes, and a call to reduce pumpkin wastage – under the motto:

Carve it, cook it, eat it, don’t bin it!

This year we celebrated Pumpkin Festival for the sixth time, with 17 events from the Good Food network in Oxford and Oxfordshire. Around 2.000 people attended the various pumpkin sales at farms and markets, pumpkin and food surplus cook-ups and parties. On the final Sunday, close to 700 people turned up at Bonn Square for Disco Soup to help to cook up rescued surplus food, eat together and to learn about creative ways to use surplus food and avoid food waste.

Emma and Nina from the Good Food Oxford team participated in a free tour of the food recycling plant at Cassington organised together with Oxfordshire Recycles and Severn Trent Green Power. These tours never fail to leave visitors impressed with the huge piles of food waste. Though we were too early in October to see them, we heard that every year after Halloween the piles turn markedly orange from all the discarded carving pumpkins.

Learning how food waste is turned into valuable biogas and liquid fertilizer at the Cassington food recycling plant.

Every year, UK households throw away  7.1 million tonnes of food and drink. The average family could save up to £840 a year by cutting household food waste.

Pumpkins and squashes are still available in the shops and farmers’ markets, so it’s not too late to rescue more of them. If you need inspiration, take a look at our pumpkin recipe collection!

Or try the Good Food Oxford Cooking Toolkit, our concise guide to creative cooking without recipes. The toolkit is ideal for starting with what you have – whether it’s surplus food, from an allotment or from a seasonal veg box.

Keep tagging photos and posts of your pumpkin creations with @GoodFoodOxford and #Pumpkin Rescue!

Pumpkin infographic
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