Charles features on cover of Big Issue with article on food waste

The King is hoping to change the story of food waste in the UK for his 75th birthday

The King has launched a new legacy project to mark his 75th birthday – the Coronation Food Project.

To mark the launch, King Charles wrote exclusively in the Big Issue magazine discussing food waste in the UK and how his new legacy project will help to tackle it.

Charles opens his opinion piece expressing his deep concerns about the large amount of food waste across the UK. He highlights how ‘at every stage of the food production process, millions of tonnes of food are sadly discarded’, calling it a ‘tragedy’.

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His Majesty notes how there is ‘a second part to this equation, and that is the extent to which too many families and individuals are missing out on nutritious meals due to the cost of living pressures that have caused hardship for so many right across the country’.

‘Food need is as real and urgent a problem as food waste – and if a way could be found to bridge the gap between them, then it would address two problems in one.

The 75-year old Monarch hopes that his new legacy project, the Coronation Food Project, will find ways to tackle food waste and distribute it to those who need it the most. His Majesty has carried out numerous engagements over the past 12 months, where he has visited food banks across the UK to hear about how the cost of living crisis is affecting families in buying food.

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The project says there are 14 million people in the UK facing food insecurity, with food banks warning of rising demand, while the Trussell Trust charity said that 1.5 million emergency food parcels were given to people by its food banks between April and September 2023, a 16% increase on last year. Almost two-thirds of these were for families with children.

‘Through supplying commercial fridges and freezers to 800 locations, a significant start has been made, helping food charities across the UK to rescue tonnes of additional fresh and frozen food, every week. This is food that can feed, strengthen and nurture not just individuals, but entire communities.’

By working with leading charities and industry partners, there are plans to do even more, including through the creation of regional food hubs which will serve the purpose of receiving and distributing surplus food.

‘This endeavour will be joined, I hope, by the enterprise and initiative of other organisations, for whom grants will be made available to support creative solutions that tackle food waste and food need,’ he wrote.

Charles concludes his piece by stating that he could ask for no greater gift than the Coronation Food Project creating a ‘lasting legacy to help others – and the help the planet’.

The King’s new portrait taken by Rankin features on the Big Issue. (The Big Issue).

The Big Issue exists to give homeless, long-term unemployed and marginalised people the opportunity to earn an income by selling the magazine to the public.

The King also features on the front cover of the special edition of the Big Issue, with a new portrait taken by renowned photographer Rankin in the gardens of Clarence House last month.

Speaking about photographing King Charles III, Rankin said: ‘It was an absolute honour to shoot this specifically for the Big Issue and specifically around the Coronation Food Project, which I’m a big supporter of. With every picture, you’re always drawn to different aspects of a personality. I’ve always thought that he’s a very resilient human being. I think that’s what I got from him, that kind of steely determination.’

However, this is not Rankin’s first portrait of a member of the Royal Family, as he also photographed Elizabeth II in 2001 to mark her Golden Jubilee.

The portrait of the Queen taken by Rankin. (Royal Collection Trust)

Similarly, the Royal Family has a close relationship with the Big Issue. His Majesty has supported the charity for a number of decades, including opening a Big Issue offices not long after the charity was launched in the 1990s.

Last year, The Prince of Wales was spotted on the streets of London selling copies of the magazine, where he was seen wearing a red cap with the Big Issue logo on, as well as a red vendor vest. It would later transpire that he would write in the magazine exclusively outlining why he took to the streets to sell the magazine and why ending homelessness is a cause close to his heart.

Prince William wrote that he refused ‘to believe that homelessness is an irrevocable fact of life. It is an issue that can be solved, but that requires a continued focus and comprehensive support network’.

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