We hosted our first in person district event on Friday 5th May at Harts Barn in the Forest of Dean. It was a great success and as you can see from the photos, we had a great turn out of enthusiastic stakeholders, all united in the desire to support, enhance and maximise opportunities for all the communities of the Forest of Dean.
The morning gave the opportunity for a reflection of the journey to date by the Forest Voluntary Action Forum, a celebration of what a community growing project can provide to its community through Beki at Blakeney Hill Growers and an update on where the Climate Emergency strategy for the district is. What was clear throughout the morning is the food is the golden thread that ties some many pieces together. We also heard from Jenny Salter, Gloucestershire’s Sustainable Food Places coordinator about the exciting plans and initiatives that everyone can be part of from the Council, organisations, and individuals.
The morning was rounded off with a delicious lunch cooked by Joe at Harts Barn, showcasing some of the fantastic food producers from the region.
Three main areas that came out the discussion at the event were:
A desire for more join up:
Who is doing what and where?
Food distribution, availability and surplus
Youth Interaction and engagement
We will work with our members and partners in the Forest of Dean and the County to explore these areas further and they will drive our work in the Forest of Dean going forward.
Community Café and Youth Club
Community Café – Serves drinks and snacks including toast and toasties
Youth Club – Feeds youth once a week a meal i.e. pasta, which they have the opportunity to help prepare and sauce/educates youth about nutrition and healthy eating
GCC/HAF – Runs Food based activities
On March 22nd Feeding Gloucestershire facilitated a workshop to support the exploration of Affordable Food Club models in the Cotswolds and the Forest of Dean.
The workshop brought together speakers from Food Pantries across the county to share their experiences in setting up and running food pantries with a membership model., the recording of this workshop can be found here.
Affordable food clubs, such as community pantries, larders and even food buses, are designed to help people on a low incomes stretch their budgets further. Joining an affordable food club means people can get food, and other essential items, for a lot less than their retail value (for example 10 items a week for £3.50).
Many affordable food clubs also offer other help – they can signpost you to other help such as debt advice, or they can offer advice drop in session. They can also offer social activities, including school holiday provision, community cafes and community growing opportunities.