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Announcing the winner of our Save The Food poetry competition

In February, supported by Defra, we launched the ‘Save the Food’ Poetry Competition. The aim was to inspire primary school children to use their creative writing skills to explore the topic of food waste.

Globally, food waste is responsible for 8-10% of greenhouse gas emissions - with this competition, we aimed to bring the issue of food waste to the forefront of the next generation’s minds. 

We were delighted to receive more than 1,000 entries from children across the UK, and even more excited to see the depth of understanding and creative thinking displayed in their work.

Ryland Coke (who is in year 5 at Stanford Junior School in Brighton) was crowned our Under 12s champion for his ‘Don’t Be A Waster’ Poem.

Stop! Before you throw that food away,

could you eat it another day?

Lots of leftovers are safe to freeze,

like cookies, fruit and even cheese

It’s really not a great big deal

to serve less food at every meal

Why don’t you use smaller plates

when eating curry with your mates?

Shop for only the food you need

A dozen donuts? That’s just GREED!

And if you do have food to spare

Use an app that helps you share

So don’t be a waster - use your brain

Unwanted food causes the planet pain!

Ryland’s poem was chosen by an expert judging panel that included: Ben Elliot (Government Food Waste and Surplus Champion), Melissa Hemsley (Chef, author and sustainability champion), Jamie Crummie (Co-Founder of Too Good To Go), Rebecca Smithers (The Guardian’s Consumer Affairs correspondent), Chris Newman (children's author and illustrator), and Matthew Shribman (scientist and environmentalist).

Ryland won £100 in book vouchers for personal use, as well as a food waste fighting pack containing sustainable items that will help him fight food waste from home. Ryland’s school - Stanford Junior School in Brighton - won a £200 book voucher to be used for the school library.

Read the top 10 poems

While the competition was initially aimed at children, little did we know how unexpectedly the next few months would play out. We were soon receiving calls for it to be extended to all age groups.

We are delighted to announce the winners of our 12-16 and 17+ category; Jasmin Coxhead and Henry Wellbelove, respectively. 

The Happy Aubergine
By Henry Wellbelove

Chosen at the market,
The honour! The pride!
Was it my sheen, my lustre,
That helped them decide?

My new home is dark,
The temperature’s near zero,
But my destiny’s clear:
I’ll be tonight’s dinner’s hero.

Light on...light off,
My heart aflutter,
Are they coming for me,
Or the milk, or the butter?

We sit and wait,
My drawermates and I,
To be loved in a soup,
A stew, or a pie.


Now here I lie,
Wrinkled and bruised,
Forgotten and wasted,
Will I ever be used?

My shine’s almost gone,
I’m shrivelling and old,
Will it end like this?


Light on...warmth floods in,
And I’m selected at last,
I’ll no longer be remembered
As the veg drawer’s outcast

And then I’m laid on a board,
While they decide on cuisine,
I consider my life and think:
“I’m a happy aubergine.”

A Few Simple Rules
By Jasmin Coxhead

Food waste on our planet, is seriously bad.

It must be stopped before it’s too late, it makes me really mad.

1.6 billion tons, gets wasted every year.

While some people are starving, and instead, they live in fear.

We can help the planet, with a few simple rules.

Planning ahead and writing a list, will help to stop the fools.

Fruit and veg all shapes and size.

Are good to eat, and they make you wise.

Use up your scraps, don’t throw them away.

Store them safely, for another day.

Google can show you many new ideas.

To transform your waste, and stop the tears.

Store your food safely, to stop the mould.

And enjoy another hot meal, or eat it cold.

Please follow these simple steps, it’s really not much to do.

It will save our planet, and definitely help me and you!

Still hungry for more?