During 2020, in the initial months of various outbreaks and lockdowns, we saw a number of households in our community begin to struggle. Jobs and sources of income were lost, individuals were isolated, and there were greater hurdles to accessing food. This prompted us to create a new project as part of our Free Food Forever initiative, one that would see us forage for monthly fresh, wild, and seasonal ingredients, collecting them together into a wild food box that would then be delivered to households in need across the community.
The boxes would not only be a way to alleviate the stress associated with food insecurity and shopping bills, offering a monthly and abundant bounty of delicious wild ingredients, but also a way to educate and empower households, demonstrating that their local landscape is a source of nutrition and flavour.
Our idea was well-received by the National Lottery, who funded the project and, to support this undertaking logistically, we sought the help of individuals from the community who had newly found themselves out of work or their income adversely affected by COVID. We offered paid opportunities for small groups to get out into nature and help us source and pick the wild ingredients for our boxes. By doing so, they not only made our twenty box target possible but they also developed their own foraging skills too.
Additionally, each box was supplied with recipe cards and information sheets, sharing details on how to identify, pick, prepare, and eat the seasonal foods of each box. This helped us to ensure that the boxes, which were offered once a month for twelve months, were not simply a quick fix but a valuable resource that empowered the community to begin supplementing their own diets and shopping bills with wild ingredients. They were illustrated by a local graphic designer, Esther Alexander.
And, if that wasn’t enough(!), each box coincided with the release of an episode of our Virtual Foraging YouTube series, hosted by head forager Vix Hill-Ryder. Episode topics covered the seasonal ingredients found on the Rame Peninsula, as well as that included in the Wild Food Box, demonstrating how easy it is to begin finding and cooking your own wild ingredients for those across the UK.
Our Wild Food Box project has now ended but our Free Food Forever initiative continues, as does our passion to combat food insecurity. Currently, we’re working on figuring out how much impact each Wild Food Box had, holding interviews with those who received our boxes and discerning the difference each one made.
Now, we’re moving ahead with something new. Seeing the cost of living continue to rise and a great number of people struggle to maintain a healthy and regular diet, we have transformed our headquarters into a Community Food Support Hub.
The intention of our hub is to offer even more support for those facing food security. In addition to our own foraging resources, courses, and knowledge, we have created a Community Food Map, which is offered for free around the Rame Peninsula. This map contains information on how to source food, whether foraging or gleaning, while signposting the incredible food charities and community food banks in our area.
Our Community Food Support Hub is set to be a stepping stone for the Family Foraging Kitchen, one that aids the development and effectiveness of our next project. We also recognise that food insecurity is not only limited to the Rame Peninsula and Cornwall, which is why we also have plans to reach further afield.
To join our Free Food Forever Initiative, please sign up here.
Our Community Food Map can be found in venues across the Rame Peninsula. Alternatively, simply pop into our Community Food Support Hub at Maker Heights.
To talk to us about food insecurity, drop into our Community Food Support Hub by appointment. Message us on Instagram or Facebook to arrange a time. Alternatively, please call 01752 829383 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.