Food poverty in Torbay takes many forms: it can affect children who would normally receive free school meals having little food during the school holidays, families in and out of work who struggle to make ends meet and are forced to buy less healthy food or isolated older people who are unable to prepare healthy meals without support. Food poverty can be triggered by a crisis in finance or personal circumstance but may also be a long-term grinding experience of not being able to afford to eat well. The willingness to combat food poverty is one aspect of social justice - a wider movement to combat low wages, poor housing, uncertain incomes, mental health challenges and social isolation. Our society creates loneliness and a lack of well-being as people often have insufficient resource and confidence to live well.
There is a momentum within Torbay to combat food poverty through establishing two exciting new projects:
Torbay Food Action
This project follows a current model of delivery in Exeter whereby surplus, short-date or end-of-line stocks from supermarkets, producers, manufacturers and retailers (food that might otherwise go to waste) is secured and then issued to charitable organisations that feed disadvantaged communities either by providing cooked meals or by issuing food parcels. Separate to the foodbank model, all food received is donated to organisations that support vulnerable people, including those affected by hunger, homelessness, family breakdown, low incomes, poverty, benefit uncertainty, abuse, poor nutrition and those receiving palliative care. Food is not resold or given to individuals.
Real Junk Food Projects
This is a global, organic network of pay as you feel cafes. Real Junk Food Projects (RJFP’s) divert food destined for waste and use it to create healthy meals. Visit the Real Junk Food Project website for more information or Real Junk Food Brighton for an example in action. There are numerous RFJP’s now established in the UK.
The idea is to establish Torbay Food Action as a collection and distribution centre (a space such as a small warehouse, kitchen area, basement area etc) with an organisation or model such as the Real Junk Food Project providing a commercial/pay as you feel model to operate either alongside at the same location or at another separate location (the former being preferable to assist with logistics and sustainability). The direction for this initiative is provided by RIO, a regional charity promoting social enterprise.
However In order to kickstart action in Torbay and reach potential a collection and distribution centre is required!
Could you or your organisation support this worthy social justice initiative through creating or making available a space to act as a collection/distribution centre? This would be a fantastic start - as you can see there are tried and tested models in regard to the collection/distribution centres. Also, Torbay Food Action would be very happy to take up a temporary or pilot offer on order to get the initiative underway.
Finally, the real gold standard would be to achieve kitchen space and facilities to host the Real Junk Food Project aspect as well!
If you have suitable premises, wish to get involved or learn more please contact us.