No, Ruby Jenny is not a new flavour of Ben and Jerry’s ice-cream but a fellow food producer that the ice-cream entrepreneurs have taken to their hearts.
Jenny will receive £10,000 and six months mentoring from the social enterprise network Ashoka.
Jenny Dawson set up Rubies in the Rubble when she heard about the freegan movement, which encourages people to rescue food from skips.
Over seven tonnes of food is wasted every year in the UK costing the economy £12bn.
Jenny intervenes higher up the food chain saving food before it is thrown away.
She opened her kitchen in New Spitalfields fruit and vegetable market; so she is on hand to buy the food wholesalers cannot sell to consumer outlets. This unsold food would otherwise be discarded.
Food saving schemes have a reputation for poor quality – scavenging in skips is hardly glamorous.
Jenny’s brand is about quality. She uses the word ‘rubble’ to draw attention to food wastage.
Jenny buys good food which can be turned into jams and chutneys destined for high end outlets.
Jenny’s jams and chutneys are currently sold at Borough Market. Ben and Jerry’s are approaching Waitrose.
Glittering in the Darkness
Jenny believes that social enterprises are best placed to offer sustainable social change.
She says her business model could be replicated in other countries.
Ben and Jerry’s have already taken her to Uganda, where competition finalists mentored locals.
Jenny mentored Maureen, who started a business making fuel from wasted food.
Back at home Jenny employs two people, both disadvantaged women. As Jenny expands she wants to hire more disadvantaged women.
Jenny plans to expand:
- Firstly into soups,
- but also by opening branches in – Manchester, Bristol and Glasgow.
Healthy Planet host Rubies in the Rubble at our offices in London so they have a rent-free space while they grow.
Buy Jenny’s Jam at Borough Market – www.boroughmarket.org.uk
Read Waste by Tristram Stuart, the book that inspired Jenny – www.tristramstuart.co.uk
Jenny is being mentored by Ashoka – www.ashoka.org