26th May 2020
Meal Deal: The Vale Kitchen
Thanks to everyone buying our beer online, we've been able to support community feeding projects across the UK. the latest is with The Vale Kitchen in Brighton.
Project lead Phil told us all about it ...
"At the beginning of May, we took on a community kitchen space on the Craven Vale estate in East Brighton. The building was until recently the Craven Vale Food Bank but that’s moved to a larger venue to increase capacity. The food bank volunteers have been very helpful getting us set up and allowing us access - we’ve supplied the food bank with surplus veg [from the Gleaning Project] in the past so they’ve kindly refused offer of payment for the kitchen.
We're working towards the Craven Vale food bank receiving the meals to go alongside their deliveries. We’re keen to feed people on the estate we’re working in.
Whilst the processes for that are put in place, the meals are going a few hundred meters down the road to a nearby temporary food hub at Brighton Table Tennis Club in Kemptown. They're providing over 50 food parcels a day and an equal number of meals. On other days these are provided by the Real Junk Food Project Brighton. There’s a neat video of that work here.
We’re also in touch with a local refugee charity called Voices in Exile about delivering soup to some of their households. There are many different groups that need help.
Ingredients are coming from FareShare and some out-graded produce from local Ashurst Organics farm. We’ve also been collecting veg that needs using up from the local food hubs. This includes veg that wasn’t taken and is getting a bit wrinkly, but is absolutely fine to cook with.
There is still surplus food available, but the type of surplus food is different to before the Covid-19 crisis. There's lots of low-value produce that stores well and would usually go to processing (especially potatoes and beetroot) but less other veg.
We’ve brought in Soul Food, a local community food initiative, to collaborate on the Vale Kitchen. They have top notch catering skills so the quality of the food is pretty high. Last week’s menu was Carrot & parsnip soup + bean & butternut chilli with a beetroot salad. Today we had Turkish lentil soup + green Thai curry with broccoli and spring greens.
I've worked with Soul Food chef Ingrid in the past. Once we’re fully set up, we'll make the kitchen a training opportunity for local people to learn kitchen skills (the estate has quite high unemployment rates). This fits with the aims of a bigger project I've been working on - the Flavour Project - to set up a surplus food processing pilot and training facility.
Generally speaking, civil society in Brighton has pulled together amazingly well over the past 8 weeks and it’s been incredible to see the level of provision that’s been put in place. It’s a bit nerve-wracking what happens next, but hopefully we’ll emerge with stronger social fabric."
A huge thanks to Phil, the Vale Kitchen team, and everyone at Feedback (our charity partner).