General ramblings

#makingitbetter-Super Kitchen

July 8, 2015

At the Big Lunch Extras Swindon Roadshow, we were lucky enough to be given an inspirational talk by Marsha Smith, the amazing lady behind Super Kitchen.

Marsha set up a community cafe when she was made redundant from her job,
Se focussed on offering one main meal, and a pudding, at affordable prices, and providing a ‘hang out’ space, for her community, where people could come together and enjoy the simple act of eating together, or ‘social eating’.

Picture credit: Super Kitchen

Picture credit: Super Kitchen

The idea proved really popular, and it was during one of these sessions that Marsha saw firsthand, that in Britain, in the 21st century, we have hungry children in our communities.
Kids who might not have eaten all day, and who won’t be getting a hot meal at the end of it either.
Remembering her student days of skip diving outside supermarkets, Marsha realised that there must be plenty of food out there, in the form of supermarket ‘waste’ but struck a dead end trying to access it herself.
But then she found out about FareShare, a charity that diverts supermarket waste to other charities that can use it. To feed hungry people.

FareShare diverted over 7,000 TONNES of surplus food from landfill last year, and alarmingly, they estimate this as only about 2% of what is out there.

Picture credit: Super Kitchen

Picture credit: Super Kitchen

Anyone else shocked?
And most of the time there is nothing ‘wrong’ with the food. It might be a mistake on the packaging, or that the packaging is designed slightly squiffy and the packets then don’t sit straight on the shelf.
So perfectly edible food, well within it’s use-by date, is skipped, and sent to landfill.
When there are families living in food poverty, hungry children, here, in the UK. In all of our communities.
And hungry kids don’t learn, and are angry, and are physically and emotionally empty.

Super Kitchen is Marsha’s incredibly simple, incredibly brilliant way to start tackling these issues.
She takes the conventional idea of a cafe with a static menu with loads of choice, and turns it on it’s head.
Using her fortnightly FareShare delivery Marsha creates one menu of a three course meal, and a drink, for £2.50.
The menu changes according to what FareShare deliver, and there is no choice. But there is lots of really good food.

Picture credit: Super Kitchen

Picture credit: Super Kitchen

And as Marsha pointed out “Why do we insist on going to sandwich shops with 15 different fillings on the menu, when most of us only ever eat one type of sandwich”?!

Not content with having one Super Kitchen in her own community, Marsha has partnered with FareShare to provide opportunities for people to start up and run their own Super Kitchens, in their communities.
Super Kitchen is developing a network of Social Eating Spaces, where people can come and eat good, affordable food, socially, and where the food that is served up is created from supermarket surplus. If you’re interested in getting involved and finding out more about starting one in your community, you can find out more here.

Marsha’s talk was shocking, but also inspiring.
Someone saw a problem, or actually two problems. Two huge, complex, overwhelming problems-food poverty, and food waste.
And they did something about it.
Something that has spread into a whole movement of Super Kitchens, helping to ensure that good food can “feed the whole person; belly and heart”.

Thankyou Marsha!

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