We often hear rhetoric about the need to create more food and manipulate plants and animals genetically to meet this demand, however we are overlooking one vital fact: we overproduce food and waste a terrible amount of the food that is produced. This is why groups like Foodsharing Edinburgh are so important.
Foodsharing Edinburgh is a group of people who volunteer their time to help organise an open network where food waste is avoided. People like Jess Acton and Martin Post, spend their time collecting and redistributing food that is perfectly good to eat to people and places which need it. Also, they steward a Facebook group where anyone can post up food that can be collected so that it does not go to landfill.
There is a special place for initiatives such as these because vital food banks such as Cyrenians Fareshare, often are not allowed to take many of the fresh foods; the result is that food banks usually only accept canned and dried goods.
A vast amount of fresh food is binned at the end of each day – food that is nutritious, fresh and fine for personal consumption. Due to the informal network of Foodsharing Edinburgh, it means that the corporate laws do not apply and so food can be collected preventing it from becoming waste.
Ragged University is fully supportive of the Food Sharing Project and wants to encourage everyone to get involved in their work. They first came along to the free curry and film nights at Serenity Cafe which are put on to generate conversation and connections. Then they started to bring artisan breads and pastries from local independent shops to share at the events; this is ideal because at the heart of the events lay the sharing of food and knowledge like a potlatch. The idea of the potlatch was learned from Native American Indian cultures, where they got together to share food and reinforce the community bonds between people.
A relationship has formed with them, and they are coming back to more events to redistribute the food in a social atmosphoer. This has also generated a connection with Dave from the serenity cafe who went to their meeting. Between them they are now organising a space in the serenity cafe with their community shop in Dumiedykes where we can permanently have a space with free Food Sharing food. This is an example of the importance of open and free community spaces.
What is important to understand is the connections made with local independent businesses who understand the need to prevent good food going to landfill. Not only are their products high quality and nutritious, but they are responsive to a common sense mindset that says we must develop a way of being together that is sustainable and not wasteful. For this reason, it is particularly important to support them as small businesses and buy from them when you can.
Currently, the businesses the Foodsharing Group collect from are:
The Pine Tree Bakery:
This is where most of the bread that we collect comes from!
Often gives bread and donuts
Lovely eco business and Fran (the owner) is also a food sharing volunteer
Provides us with delicious veggie curries
The Larder Cafe
Infrequent but have a focus on local food and sometimes donate very tasty bread.
They’re also big supporters of our friends at the Real Junk Food Project
New Leaf Coop
Lovely wholefood / organic / local coop shop that donates their grains and bulk produce
So, if you are in Edinburgh and wondering where to get your groceries, buy some food, or just while away a moment over piece of cake, try and shop at one of these great examples of local, independent businesses who are contributing to common sense thinking and a sustainable world (one which will be here in the future).