Tackling food waste through a social enterprise model
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
If you were to search for a torchbearer to represent the social enterprise movement, you would be hard put to find someone better than 27-year-old Jenny Dawson.
The founder of chutney and jam company Rubies in the Rubble has that rare quality of integrating a sharp and ambitious business mind with a heart of gold.
Dawson, who this week won the UK prize in a European-wide social enterprise competition run by ice-cream company Ben & Jerry’s, left her lucrative fund management job two years ago because she did not want to reach middle age and wonder why she had not concentrated on something she was passionate about.
“I had a realisation that if I was still there at 40, I would have lived a life for a wage rather than something I stood for and was proud of,” she says.
Her social enterprise is based on coming up with solutions to her twin concerns of food waste and finding employment opportunities for women who have fallen on hard times and need a helping hand to rebuild their lives.
One of Dawson’s innovations has been to recently open a commercial kitchen at the New Spitalfields fresh fruit and vegetable market in east London so that she can be on site to pick up high-quality produce that would otherwise go to landfill or compost because no buyers could be found. While she could take the produce for free, she feels it is important to pay a small price in order to build loyal relationships with the traders.