Wild venison served at food bank to mark Food Waste Action Week 2021

David L Williams, foodbank volunteer and customer, serves venison at Ringcross foodbank in Holloway

David L Williams, food bank volunteer and customer, serves venison at Ringcross Food Bank in Holloway - Credit: Louise Orton

Wild deer meat, which usually goes to some of the finest restaurants in the country, has been served to some of the most disadvantaged groups across the UK this week, including to customers at a Holloway food bank.

The deer population has risen to over two million during lockdown - the highest in over 1,000 years - largely as a result of restaurant closures.

Some of the venison was sourced from Highland Game in Dundee, which was founded in 1997 to make the deer meat available...

Some of the venison was sourced from Highland Game in Dundee, which was founded in 1997 to make the deer meat available through mainstream retail channels - Credit: Highland Game

Overpopulation of deer can lead to destroyed habitats, including woodlands where other species live, and culling is used to manage herds. 

The Country Food Trust, a charity set up to feed the needy, marked Food Waste Action Week by securing 34 tonnes of wild venison for other distribution charities such as the Felix Project, which in turn supplied ready meals to food banks like Ringcross in Lough Road.

Pre-Covid, Ringcross catered for between six to 15 clients a day. Now it serves 170 meals daily and clients queue around the block waiting for it to open.

Many of them, like 60-year-old Sandra, were thrilled with the shepherds' pie ready meals they received.

The venison being cooked up before being distributed for Food Waste Week

The venison being cooked up before being distributed for Food Waste Action Week - Credit: With Compassion

"I’ve never tried venison before," said Sandra, who lives alone with her cat.

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"I think I’ll like it because it’s quite an expensive thing, isn’t it? I’ll give it a go. This is a really great food bank.”

“Before the pandemic I was a carer in Camden, mostly helping older people. I stopped because of health problems and now I get Universal Credit but it only lasts me a few weeks."

Mark Curtin, chief executive of the Felix Project, which delivers food to Ringcross on Monday and Friday, expressed gratitude for the supply of venison secured by the Country Food Trust. 

"In fact, this epitomises what we are trying to do - prevent food waste and supply nutritious food to those who need it most," he said.

"We are delighted that families across the capital who are struggling to get by will be able to savour these delicious, tasty meals.”

Ringcross foodbank in Holloway served wild venison during Food Waste Action Week

Ringcross Food Bank in Holloway served wild venison during Food Waste Action Week - Credit: The Felix Project

Ringcross foodbank in Holloway served wild venison during Food Waste Action Week

Ringcross Food Bank in Holloway served wild venison during Food Waste Action Week - Credit: The Felix Project

Some of the venison was sourced from Highland Game in Dundee, which was founded in 1997 to make the deer meat available...

Some of the venison was sourced from Highland Game in Dundee, which was founded in 1997 to make the deer meat available through mainstream retail channels - Credit: Highland Game

The venison being cooked up before being distributed for Food Waste Week

The venison being cooked up before being distributed for Food Waste Action Week - Credit: With Compassion

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