By Maya Clark of Soul Soup

Awareness of environmental issues has grown sharply in recent years, forcing us all to consider how our individual choices impact the planet we live on. With many of us looking to adopt greener ways of living, perhaps the most tangible change we can make is to our diets.

Food plays an integral role in our lives, both socially and culturally. As such, changing your diet can at first seem a little daunting. Yet it is the simplest thing we can do to lower our carbon footprint, support sustainable industry and improve our health.

Studies have shown that adopting a plant-based diet is the single biggest way we can reduce our carbon footprint – something we all need to be taking bold steps towards. With an increasing focus on where our food comes from, we are also learning about the inefficiencies of our food systems and the staggering amount of food waste this produces.

A third of food going to landfill

With poverty on the rise in the UK, food waste is certainly an important issue from a social perspective, but we must also consider its impact environmentally. Roughly one-third of all food produced globally ends up in landfill. What’s more the majority of this waste occurs at a farm level, well before food has the chance to reach our shops and supermarkets, let alone our homes.

Beyond being a huge loss of increasingly scarce resources, this process emits vast amounts of greenhouse gases; so much so that if food waste were a country it would be the third-largest greenhouse gas emitter globally. It is clear that systemic change is needed in the food sector if we are to sustainably feed our growing populations.

Soul Soups
Creating Soul Soup

It was from learning about the impact of our food systems that the idea for Soul Soup was born. Soul Soup is a plant-based social business that creates dishes using rescued produce, in turn reducing carbon emissions.

Working with organisations such as Fare Share and UK Harvest, alongside independent partnerships, allows us to rescue large quantities of produce from farms, supermarkets and allotments that would have otherwise gone to landfill. We look to create nutritious and delicious food at highly affordable prices to make plant-based diets and their health benefits accessible to everyone.

Aspiring to be an inclusive zero-food-waste business, we run a ‘Pay It Forward’ scheme as well as donating all leftovers to Lewes Open Door, the homelessness charity, and composting any unavoidable food waste. After a year of trading around Brighton and successfully running a crowdfunding campaign, we’re delighted to have opened our purpose-before-profit cafe in Unity Lewes, the community wellbeing centre on Friars Walk.

Learn more
To find out more about our sustainable food initiative, visit www.soulsoup.cafe and find us on social media at @soulsoup.cafe. And to help us in our mission to #bethechange that the food system needs to see, be sure to pop into our café and see what sustainability can really taste like.

Soul Soup at The Unity Centre, Friars Walk, Lewes, is open Monday to Friday 11am – 7pm, and Saturday 9am – 5pm