Yesterday was the official launch event of The Pig Idea, a campaign aiming to overturn the EU law that prevents pigs being fed catering waste, or ‘swill’. The campaign has environmental as well as economic benefits. By feeding pigs catering waste rather than sending it to an incinerator (or similar), restaurants, supermarkets and food producers will save a huge amount of money and be helping the environment. Currently vast amounts of land, that could be converted to produce food for the ever-expanding global population, are being used to produce soy for the animals, who are quite happy eating waste!
Upon reading about the campaign for the first time, I was surprised to know that such legislation existed. We all know about Foot and Mouth, but with careful monitoring and standards to meet, there is no reason why properly treated swill can’t be fed to animals – especially when there are such important benefits to it.
Thomasina Miers, ex-Masterchef winner and owner of Wahaca (my link to the campaign), and Tristram Stuart, environmentalist, founded the campaign and are supported by Hambassadors (such as Radio 2’s Sara Cox and Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall) as well as pledge restaurants (such as Wahaca, Cabana and Bistrot Bruno Loubet).
On 21st November, The Pig Idea held The Big Feast, a free event in Trafalgar Square that fed 5,000 people between 12pm and 4pm. Having raised eight pigs at Stepney City Farm purely on legally permissible food waste, including whey from Gringa Diary and beer hops from White Hart, Wahaca and the other restaurants used the animals from nose to tail. Bruno Loubet got the head, Soho House the belly and Le Pont de La Tour braised the cheeks. As well as this, they made a small batch of chorizo that went into breakfast burritos for several radio breakfast show presenters, such as Nick Grimshaw and Sean Keavney.
The square was abuzz with hungry Londoners, there to support the campaign…and have a free lunch. Throughout the day chefs such as Hugh, Tommi, Valentine Warner, Bruno Loubet and Stevie Parle, hit the stage to show us their favourite ways to cook pork. My favourite was Valentine Warner’s kidneys with homemade brown sauce (I’m a sucker for offal).
It was a fun, inspirational day filled with porky goodness, people dressed up as pigs and LOTS of signatures on the pledge. If you want to read more about the campaign, or even sign the pledge, check it out here.
All images from @Frankjenk, my partner in swine