When you think about activities for the autumn half-term holidays it’s not unusual to think about Halloween, pumpkins and trick or treating. It may all be a bit different this year, but whatever the circumstances, doing activities around pumpkins can still be very rewarding.

However, something that is even scarier than witches, ghosts and ghouls at Halloween, is the incredible number of pumpkins that ends up in the bin every year. About 18,000 tonnes of edible pumpkin is wasted every autumn, that’s the same weight as 1,500 double decker buses!  That is food that farmers have grown, that has been watered and fertilised, that has been harvested and transported to the shops.  Halloween and the events around it are a great way to help children and adults think about food waste and to help them take action in their own lives and by joining the Durham Pumpkin Rescue, community groups and individuals in County Durham can do their bit too!

Pumpkin Rescue uses everyone’s favourite spooky staple as a way to talk about the edible food we throw away and easy steps we can take to make the most of it instead. It’s a celebration of food that challenges preconceptions, teaches new skills and has some fun along the way.

Here are just a few ideas to think about:

  • Organise a pick your own pumpkin trip to East Grange Farm at High Shincliffe. Because of the Covid uncertainty it is essential that you contact them in advance, but they’ll be keen to accommodate you if they can. You can contact them through Facebook or by ringing Richard or 07731 846704. They are planning to open on the weekend of 16 October 2020.
  • If you do a group pumpkin carving event, you can collect the pumpkin guts to cook and share.
  • How about adding a recipe competition using pumpkins and sharing  the recipes? This is something you may be able to do online.
  • Make a big pan of pumpkin soup and serve a communal meal that serves up food from surplus ingredients. You can find a delicious recipe here.
  • Do a ‘guess the weight of the pumpkin’ competition.
  • Make sure that you have recipe cards for people to take away afterwards- you can find a whole range of them on our website under Resources.
  • And after Halloween, why not organise a pumpkin composting session in partnership with your local allotment association?

If you’re looking for more inspiration have a look at the ‘How to’ guide that environmental charity HUBBUB has created here. Alternatively you can contact Peter or Hannah at Food Durham on the emails below.

We would love to hear what you’re planning, share your ideas and make sure more people know about your event.  You can let us know by email on peter@fooddurham.net or hannah@fooddurham.net, ideally by the end of September 2020.

If you’re on social media, please use the hashtags #DurhamPumpkinRescue and #PumpkinRescue.

Let’s work together to reduce the amount of food that goes in the bin!