Every year millions of tonnes of fresh fruits and vegetables are discarded, as part of a culture of excessive waste. As lovers of good food, Rubies in the Rubble couldn’t stomach it and started making delicious, handmade chutneys and jam, made as much as possible from surplus fruits and vegetables before they’re discarded, to provide employment to those who need it most.
Rubies in the Rubble love that word. Not just because they preserves what they make, by hand and with care, in the form of chutneys, jams, and pickles, but also because it sums up their mission: to Preserve, to Serve, and to Save.
Every jar is packed with fresh fruit and veg goodness, almost all of which would have otherwise gone to waste. Western countries produce up to 300% more food than they actually need, while 1 billion people suffer from malnutrition. It just doesn’t seem to make sense!
Fairer distribution of all that surplus food is the ideal. But in the meantime, learning to value and put it to use in one's own home or country is a point of moral principle. Rubies in the Rubble want their products to be a literal solution to food waste. But they also want them to stand as symbolic vehicles of message - to consume less, think more, and be proud of it.
The team consists of three women, working part-time in the kitchen who have also decided to view food waste not as cause for despair, but as an exciting opportunity to create a positive and sustainable enterprise by employing Londoners who are struggling to earn a living. Rubies in the Rubble aimed to tackle the issue of unemployment by creating jobs and fighting food wastage. The team strongly believe in the dignity, self-worth and responsibility involved in producing something which has value to someone else, which contributes to a sustainable, profitable business. Producing top quality, high-end products which command a price lies at the heart of what Rubies in the Rubble is trying to prove.
One of the brain's behind the initiative, Jenny Dawson, said: "Our produce and our people can be made precious, if only given the chance".
The purpose-built kitchen can be found on site at New Spitalfields wholesale fruit and veg market, ideally situated to intercept any unsold surplus directly, transforming it into chutney as soon as it becomes available at the end of the day. 700,000 tons of fresh produce passes through the market every year, producing over 200 tons of general waste per week. The team also works directly with UK growers, making use of unwanted produce at various points in the supply chain.
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