Edible Edinburgh Festival Feeding the 5000

Feeding the Five Thousand stall and visitors

Feeding the Five Thousand stall and visitors

Scotland’s very first Feeding the 5000 event, which took place in Bristo Square on Saturday 5th October, was a huge success. Feeding the 5000 events have previously taken place across the world in cities such as London, Paris and Sydney.

4950 portions of delicious food were served, all of it prepared by top chefs and volunteers from across the city, from ingredients that might otherwise have been thrown away.

As well as highlighting the problem of food waste and possible solutions, the thousands of visitors to the event were also given the chance to comment on a consultation to develop a Sustainable Food City Strategy for Edinburgh. Over 300 written responses to the consultation were received at the event.
This process is being managed by Edible Edinburgh, which was formed to explore how healthy, sustainable and locally sourced food can be made available for everyone.

Alongside the Feeding the 5000 event was a Food Information Fair where 25 community groups were able to share with Edinburgh residents information about the wide range of food related activities that take place across the city, ranging from community growing groups to Slow Food and children’s cookery classes.

Feeding the Five Thousand visitors in queue

Feeding the Five Thousand visitors in queue

This event wouldn’t have been possible without the help of around 150 volunteers who did everything from preparing and serving the food to talking to visitors about their views on what sorts of changes they would like to see in how food is dealt with in Edinburgh.

It is hoped that more Feeding the 5000 events will be held in other Scottish cities in the near future.


With households in Scotland throwing away 556,000 tonnes of food a year, two-thirds of which is avoidable, there are environmental and financial reasons for reducing this figure – this amount is the equivalent of the average family throwing £35 a month into the bin.

The event was organised by Edible Edinburgh in close partnership with the University of Edinburgh, the City of Edinburgh Council, Edinburgh University Students’ Association, Soil Association Scotland,Nourish Scotland, Transition Edinburgh, Beltane Fire Society and Feeding the 5000, while financial support was provided by Zero Waste Scotland.

Scotland Chef of the Year 2011 Neil Forbes from Café St Honore supervised the cooking and was joined by Charlie Cornelius from Iglu, Elaine Mason from Union of Genius, Eleanor Cunningham from Edinburgh Larder, Sascha Grierson from Hugh Grierson Organic, Georgie Binder from Blackfriars and Dale Mailley from the Gardener’s Cottage. Trishna Singh and 
volunteers from the Sikh Sanjog Community Group in Leith were among those cooking and serving up original and top quality dishes on the day. The many volunteers from Edinburgh Cyrenians and Edinburgh Community Food taking part showed how committed these organisations are to playing their part in making Edinburgh a Sustainable Food City.

All of the food was supplied by local allotments, Stirfresh, Kettle Produce, Summer Harvest Oils, Breadshare, Scotherbs and Skea Organics.

You can find out more about Edible Edinburgh here: http://www.edible-edinburgh.org . Edinburgh Residents are invited to fill in the survey on this site and the consultation process runs until October 18th.