Culinary Ingenuity and Tasty Mish Mash

Roddy Doyle with director Joe O,Byrne at The Five Lamps play launch

On Saturday 1st April, VOICE and Connect the Dots brings you free food and tips for avoiding food waste as part of the 2017 Five Lamps Arts Festival.

Voice of Irish Concern for the Environment (VOICE) is a waste and water charity that empowers individuals and local communities to take positive action to conserve our natural resources, and food waste is one of their current campaigns.

VOICE works with community groups, schools, and Tidy Town initiatives around the country to organise picnics to raise awareness about eating and shopping habits that lead to food waste. The meal itself is a demonstration of how good food can be saved.

It’s called ‘food rescue’ because we really feel that we are rescuing food from the bin, good food that can be consumed by people, and that is good for them and nutritious, and it is often just put in the bin when it doesn’t have to be needlessly thrown away”.

For most people, the mention of food waste will elicit some acknowledgement of how we all contribute to the problem, no matter how efficient or conscientious we try to be. But the actual situation is much worse that feeling guilty about throwing away so many carrot peelings – the statistics around food waste in Ireland are staggering.

  • 1 million tonnes of food is thrown out by Irish consumers and business every year. Over 60% of this is household waste.
  • Each year the average Irish household throws away €700 worth of food.
  • 60% of all food waste is avoidable, and 20% is potentially avoidable.
  • All the while, 1 in 8 people in Ireland experience food poverty.

All four statistics are shocking but the final one puts the issue in perspective most strongly and most urgently. Food waste is gratuitous and unnecessary; it springs from a lack of awareness and education – which means that we can all be more efficient with our resources and save money in the process if we make a concerted effort to address our habits.

Learning how to make simple dishes from leftovers, using peelings in a soup. Habits, simple things that people do, but if you begin to change it, to be aware of it, you begin to tackle them.”

VOICE offers practical, and sometimes commonsensical, advice and tips on how individuals can reduce food waste. Events like the Food Rescue Picnic are intended as the first step in planting interest and awareness, and getting people talking about topics that are connected to how we live our everyday lives. VOICE’s approach is to support and empower individuals and communities to take initiative so that through their actions the message makes its way further into communities.

People need to be engaged, that’s the main thing. It shouldn’t be top down policies that might impact on the most vulnerable. You need to engage the communities and get them to make these decisions for themselves. That’s what we’re trying to do”.

On Saturday 1st April from 4 – 6pm, you have the opportunity to engage. You are invited to enjoy a meal made from good food that would have otherwise been discarded.

The ingredients will be coming from FoodCloud and local shops, and the cooking will be done by volunteers. There will also be cooking challenge judged by the audience of eaters which will see two cooks go head to head with culinary ingenuity to create the tastiest mish mash.

The Food Rescue Picnic will be an interactive event. Connect the Dots will be there to facilitate audience discussion and participation. Everyone is invited to bring a recipe along, particularly any relating to using food that might otherwise go to waste for a recipe and skill share. There will also be musical performances and a documentary, Just Eat It – A Food Waste Story.

The Food Rescue Picnic is just one of the events taking place along the Grand Canal during this year’s Five Lamps Arts Festival.

Food Rescue Picnic

Saturday 1st April, from 4pm to 6pm

St Agatha’s Hall beside the Royal Canal at Charleville Mall

Event Free  No booking required



  • VOICE provides a list of actions for tackling food waste aimed at individuals, communities and schools.
  • Watch this video made by Monaghan County Council titled Your Food = Your Money.

Written by Marian Brosnan.

Thanks to Meaghan Carmody, Environmental Projects Manager in VOICE.

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