Virtual Study Group - Feeding Vulnerable People
V-KEMS hosted this virtual study group together with FareShare.
The ‘Study Group' model is a very effective means of delivering mathematical based problem solving for problems in industry or other areas of science. To learn more about why it is successful, visit here.
At a time where physical collaboration is difficult, the study group model was successfully utilised to explore challenges in unlocking the workforce, and opening up university spaces.
The challenge was: how can the mathematical sciences provide support in forecasting demand for surplus food products over the coming months and incentivising relationships with producers to ensure FareShare is well supported by the food supply chain.
FareShare is the UK's largest charity fighting hunger and food waste who look to unlock the economic and social value of redistributed surplus food. Through its network, FareShare redistributes good quality surplus food from the food industry and sends it to nearly 10,000 charities and community groups including homeless hostels, children's breakfast clubs, domestic violence refuges and community cafes [ref].
In the present environment, organisations like FareShare have seen an unprecedented demand for their services, in addition the food surplus levels have been drastically altered. FareShare wanted to discuss ways in which the mathematical sciences might provide support in:
- understanding and forecasting how demand for surplus food products is likely to change over the coming months. In particular, as well as scale of demand, where geographically might the demand be, and where should FareShare scale up its activity?
- Additionally, over 50% of total food wastage occurs at the farm level. How might FareShare develop strategies to ensure that it is the first port of call for receiving surplus?
This event was organised and hosted by the Virtual Forum of Knowledge Exchange in the Mathematical Sciences (VKEMS).