Kirriemuir Food Hub, set up during the first lockdown to help tackle food and financial insecurity for local people, has hit a major milestone. The initiative has saved over 20 tonnes of food from going to waste.
A group of volunteers initiated the project, including Lindsey Wilson, who offered space for the Hub within her pub, 3 Bellies Brae, while it was closed during the early days of the pandemic.
“While our mission is predominantly about reducing food insecurity, almost as a by-product of this, the opportunity to reduce food waste and contribute to action around climate change was recognised, so we have been supported by Sustainable Kirriemuir throughout their Climate Challenge Fund ‘Nourish Project’ who’s objective is to reduce local food waste by 6 tonne by March 2022 ’ Lindsey explained.
Set up behind 3 Bellies Brae Bar, with its own wee growing plot, the Hub is open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 2pm and anyone is welcome to use it.
Lauren Urquhart, Learning and Events Leader with Sustainable Kirriemuir said: “We are delighted to have been able to support the Kirrie Food Hub throughout our project. Their volunteers work tirelessly collecting and redistributing surplus food from local shops, such as the Co-op, and further afield, including Asda and Tesco, through schemes including FareShare. This has allowed Kirriemuir to make great strides towards envisaging what a ‘world without waste’ might look like.”
Kate Badcock is a committee member and volunteer with the Hub. “The science bit: around a third of all food produced globally is wasted and, along with it, all the resources, time and energy which go into making it,” Kate explained. “And that energy mounts up – the unfortunate reality is that 25-30% of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions are generated through food production. Without changing how we manage food waste, this figure will only rise, as the global population does. The need to recognise our part in this, and take what actions we can to address waste, is essential – especially in the west, where food is plentiful for many and levels of waste excessive.”
“What does 20 tonnes look like? It’s a very big amount, and difficult to visualise. To help, it’s roughly the weight of a fully loaded coach-style bus or three Tyrannosaurus Rex. It is the weight of two cruise ship anchors or a fully loaded fire engine.
Crucially, in line with Kirrie Food Hub’s mission to ensure no-one goes hungry in this locality, it is roughly the equivalent of 40,000 individual meals.”
How does the Hub do this? In addition to food diverted from incineration to feed people experiencing food insecurity, their community larder is available 24 hours per day (located in the Hub’s garden), which anyone in the community can access. Any waste which is too far gone for human consumption is further diverted, mostly into animal feed. Anything remaining is composted to nourish the Hub’s own home-grown, fresh garden produce during the growing season.
On every Monday evening in November, the Hub worked in partnership with 3 Bellies Brae Bar to run a pop-up café, serving up delicious meals for free. Those who wished could make a donation towards the Hub, which contributed to vital work with those in need. As well as bringing together people from different parts of the community, in what can be a dark, cold, and challenging month for many, the café events served up tasty treats including teriyaki salmon stir-fries, roast beef and trimmings, fish tacos, vegetable lasagne, and mushroom stroganoff; soups, cakes, and smoothies – all of which would have otherwise gone to waste.
“Even as we celebrate this milestone, we’re looking ahead,” Lindsey concluded. “We’re considering how best to reach more people in need and how to include more of the community in our activities. Here’s to the next 20 tonnes, and beyond!”
If you want to get involved, it’s simple. Anyone can visit the community larder – stock changes depending on what’s available each day, but if there is anything in particular you’re needing, feel free to pop in to say ‘Hi’ to Hub volunteers (Monday to Saturday, 10am – 2pm) and ask what’s available. The Hub regularly needs volunteers, whether for distribution, collection, deliveries, or gardening. And last but not least, the pop-up café events were so successful, look out for more events coming up in 2022.