This is the time of year when farmers are harvesting their crops but in spite of the abundant harvest, there are still people going hungry. At Signpost International we believe no man, woman or child should suffer hunger and so we aim to eradicate it from the communities we work with. Food poverty is not just a problem in the countries we work in overseas, it is an issue that affects people right here in the UK. But this should not be the case as there is so much food in the system.
Did you know that last year in Dundee alone 26,000 tonnes of food went to waste?
Shocking statistics like this led to the inception of the Roundhouse Community Kitchen, which launched in March of this year. The Roundhouse Community Kitchen is our first food project in the UK and operates in Dundee where we are based. Its aim is to transform surplus food destined for landfill and turn it into nutritionally balanced meals which are distributed to foodbanks and larders across the city for those most in need.
Each morning we collect crates of food from local supermarkets and greengrocers. The crates are full of useable produce that have been cleared off the shelves because of stock management controls like ‘best before’ or ‘display until’. It was heading for the supermarket’s food waste bin but instead it is redirected to us at the Roundhouse Community Kitchen.
(Surplus food collected from one local supermarket.)
The crates are taken to the Roundhouse, where all the food is weighed and recorded so we can keep track of how much food we have collected. We make different amounts of food each day, depending on the dish and the ingredients available. It is then off into the kitchen to start preparing and cooking the food. This is done by our wonderful volunteers. Once the food has been cooked, it needs time to cool. Meanwhile the kitchen is cleaned, and the containers laid out in preparation for portioning food. Once cooled and portioned, the meals are labelled and sealed before being stored in the fridge or the freezer.
(Karen one of our wonderful volunteers preparing the veg.)
Everything is now ready for our partner food projects to collect. On a Friday Dundee foodbank collect the meals, which they offer to people facing financial crisis. They are one of five food provision groups that we currently partner with, who collect and hand out the meals from the Community Kitchen.
Once they’ve made it to the foodbank, the meals are included in emergency food parcels. These are the meals that were made at the Community Kitchen out of the useable food that was being discarded. Instead of going in the bin the food has been turned into freshly cooked meals and given to people who need a bit of support.
(The finished product! The ingredients for this meal were saved from landfill and benefited someone in need.)
In the first five months of the Roundhouse Community Kitchen, we have given out 4,714 meals and saved five and a half tonnes of food from going to waste.
Click the link and see the food journey at the Roundhouse Community Kitchen.
There is so much food in the system and yet people are still going hungry, this should not be happening.
Whilst the need remains, we’ll keep saving useable food, keep turning it into meals, and keep giving it to food larders and foodbanks, who will keep giving the meals out to those who need them.
But for the Roundhouse Community Kitchen to be able to do this we need your help. Will you support our appeal and help us distribute the harvest to those most in need?
Thank you for your continued support.
Signpost International, Communications Officer