This week I was lucky enough to be able to spend some time at FoodCycle’s Salisbury hub. In essence, FoodCycle is an organisation that
runs volunteer-powered community projects across the UK – working to reduce food poverty and social isolation by serving tasty, nutritious meals to vulnerable groups
While I’d read about FoodCycle and other cafes that use food waste as the basis of the meals they serve, I was curious to find out more and see first hand how a hub is run.
Salisbury FoodCycle provides a three course sit down lunch, made by volunteers, to around twenty people. On the menu this week was:
- Vegetable soup
- Savoury bread & butter pudding (made with cheese and pickle!) with salad
- Fruit salad and/or Christmas pudding with custard
It just so happened that I’d shown up on a day when the hub was short of volunteers, and I was more than happy to get stuck in. My first task was to lay the table, which – thanks to flowers donated by Waitrose – looked quite welcoming. Once guests began to arrive, I signed them in and was able to chat to a few of them.
Equipped with a fetching hairnet, I was also able help out a bit in the kitchen and I was impressed by the meal only a handful of volunteers managed to conjure up in a limited space (you can see the size of the kitchen here). It actually really brought home the stupidity of our current food system, where tonnes of perfectly edible food is sent to landfill, when it could so easily be used to make a nutritious meal. The guests seemed like they were enjoying themselves and there was plenty of talking and laughter throughout the afternoon, which reminded me of how important the social aspect of food and eating can be, particularly for those who live alone.
It was great to see a FoodCycle hub in action, and I went away feeling that more of them, or projects that are similar, are very much needed as a means of supporting vulnerable people, whilst also reducing the vast amount of food waste the UK currently generates.