Food Not Bombs is an organisation which strives to feed the hungry, protect the environment and campaign against war - all in one simple swoop. Reporter DAN KEEL finds out more.

POVERTY and the destruction of our environment are two of the biggest problems facing south London.

Wouldn't it be great if there was a way to help solve both issues at the same time?

Well, volunteers from the revolutionary movement Food Not Bombs are giving it their best shot - and they have now extended their novel ideas into Lewisham, Greenwich Dartford and Bexley.

Put simply, volunteers prey on the waste food from businesses. Food which otherwise would be condemned to a landfill site.

News Shopper: LEWISHAM: Homeless people fed veggie meals from businesses' leftovers

As long as it's within its 'best before' date, the food is then rounded up and used to feed the area's homeless and vulnerable people with vegan and vegetarian meals in hostels around the area.

Martin Bowman is the founder of the local Food Not Bombs movement. He said: "We are not a charity. But the idea that just a few friends could get together and set this up has really given a lot of people hope.

"It feeds the homeless, recycles food, and saves businesses money on their disposal costs. It is quite simply in everyone’s interest.

"The more businesses who donate to us, the more hostels we contact, the more volunteers we have – the more we can do."

He added: "We have virtually no budget and no need for one – all our food is given to us for free, the kitchen is rented for free."

The theory behind the movement is that with the knowledge of a free meal, homeless people will not be forced to constantly hunt for short-term cash to fund their next feed.

Instead they can concentrate on digging themselves out of poverty.

Meanwhile, making use of every scrap of food means less energy is wasted producing, transporting and storing food to replace the leftovers which have been needlessly binned.

News Shopper: LEWISHAM: Homeless people fed veggie meals from businesses' leftovers

And the whole process takes place under the banner of Food Not Bombs which is firmly against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Our wastage in the west is astounding and must be reduced,” said Mr Bowman.

“Our everyday shopping in Bexley, Lewisham and Dartford is pushing the world’s poorest into starvation – both through rising food prices, and through global warming, which will exacerbate the divisions between rich and poor.

"Reducing waste should be the priority, and what is left over should provide for the UK’s own poorest, not be thrown in the bin."

For more information or to volunteer, visit, email or call 07816 088210.

Weekly meals in New Cross

Every Monday volunteers from Food Not Bombs hand out free meals at St Mungo's hostel in Exeter Way, New Cross, to the area's homeless and vulnerable.

Last week's menu included:

- Vegetarian soup with bread

- Vegan bakes

- Fruit salad

- Cakes

Food Not Bombs

The first Food Not Bombs group was set up in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1980 by anti-nuclear activists.

Participating business in the News Shopper area include:

- Swanley Bakery in Swanley High Street

- Ruxley Farm Shop, Sidcup

- Kelsey's Farm Shop, Sidcup