THE challenge was to feed 5,000 people free meals made of produce that would otherwise have been binned.
And thousands of people supported the event as they turned up in Portsmouth’s Guildhall to get the free grub.
The Portsmouth Food Partnership was officially launched with a Feeding the 5,000 event yesterday. Volunteers gathered vegetables such as sweet potato, courgettes and butternut squash from supermarkets and stores that otherwise would have thrown them out.
Food Partnership co-ordinator Megan Saunders said: ‘Feeding the 5,000 is a community celebration of the delicious solution to the global food waste problem.
‘We made people a free lunch from food rescued that would have otherwise gone to waste.
‘This was the launch of the Portsmouth Food Partnership, which is a new network of public, private, community and third-sector organisations that are working to improve food in the city and empower the community to start up new projects to improve their health.’
A vegetable curry, a Mediterranean casserole and rice were cooked by the Royal Navy.
The night before, about 50 volunteers spent two-and-a-half hours prepping the vegetables.
Chief petty officer Joey Murray said: ‘We don’t waste things in the navy and so we support this message of reducing waste.’
It is thought about 3,000 bowls of food were served, but the total is still being counted.
Jenny Cox, 31, is the manager of the Canvas Coffee shop at Portsmouth and Southsea railway station and said: ‘It’s great to see the awareness of food wastage raised and hopefully it will make people think of what they can do with leftover food at home.’
Student Bekkie Ashurst, 19, said: ‘The event was bigger than I expected it to be.
‘It was a great way of educating people on how much food is wasted.’