Thinking back to the initial hours, days and weeks of the coronavirus crisis, we could never have imagined that Food for Good would grow into what it is today. There were literally hundreds of phone calls, frantic conversations about kitchens and menus and even a physically distanced meeting in a park (before lockdown, of course).
Over the past 10 weeks, since the 16th March 2020, we are incredibly proud of having had the opportunity to form a team that is not only supporting Edinburgh’s residents with nutritious food, but is doing so with clear values of community, dignity and sustainability.
In this post, I would like to tell you a little more about what that last word, sustainability, means to me and to us at Food for Good.
The word sustainability is horribly overused and has crept into everyday language, used to sell us everything from take-away coffee to insurance. At its core, sustainability means that something is able to be maintained at a certain level without harming people or planet. Food for Good is made up of individuals from a range of organisations and backgrounds, all of whom are experienced in different areas but share a passion for sustainability one way or another.
Our commitment to sustainability can be summarised in four key areas;
Running an extensive emergency food response in the middle of the ‘hungry gap’ (the weeks of the year when the winter crops have ended but the new season’s plantings aren’t yet ready to harvest) has thrown up a few challenges! Since there’s not much coming out of the ground in Scotland at the moment, we’ve had to be creative with our cookery, as well as our sourcing.
By speaking to farmers, growers and producers, we are able to find out what’s good, as well as what might be surplus that we can make good use of. These conversations have led to some fantastic relationships with local suppliers such as The Really Garlicky Company, Lunan Bay Farm (for asparagus) and Peelham Farm (for organic livestock).
All of this means that our meals are packed with the goodness of seasonal, local produce.
Any organisation is only as strong as its people and we are truly blessed to have the opportunity to work with our team of chefs, drivers, packers, labellers, call handlers and logistical wizards.
Currently, many of these folk are volunteers who are furloughed from their regular jobs and have chosen to invest their time with us- something that constantly knocks our socks off.
The ‘sustainability’ part of our operation is based around our dedication to keeping our people happy and safe at all times. As well as having our own in-house health and safety officer to help the kitchens stay safe, checking in with the teams regularly and providing people with the tools that they need to do their jobs, we’re also delighted to drop in a wee case of something to keep people refreshed either during, or at the end of their shift- big up to Bon Accord and& Barney’s Beer!
We are also proud to be in a position to support a number of our workers financially, those who otherwise would not have an income due to COVID-19.
Given that we cook and distribute over 4000 meals every week, we use a lot of packaging! With a landscape that is fraught with tricky decisions we are proud to work with Biopak to offer our meals in packaging that can be popped into the freezer, oven and microwave.
As well as our packaging being made from sugarpulp, a byproduct of the sugar industry, Biopak are a member of the Ellen McArthur Foundation, reinvest their profits into charitable enterprises and are 100% carbon neutral.
Getting our meals to people living all over the city is no mean feat.
As much as our refrigerated van is necessary for some of our work, we are delighted that the majority of our meals are delivered by bicycles with our friends at Farr Out. These journeys don’t only keep our delivery drivers fit and healthy but have also saved over 200kg of CO2 emissions* each and every week that we have been operating!
So, you can see that we have lots to be proud of since those early days!
If you would like to find out more or chat to us about our commitment to sustainability, feel free to get in touch.