Cook and Meet is new program that supports and trains migrant parents to deliver People’s Kitchens in their local areas. The kitchens aim to build family networks, employability and integration with local services and uses food from shops and markets that would otherwise go to waste.
Things have moved on a long way since our last update and our group of parents are gearing up to run their own cooking session at the end of March! They have been working hard over the past few weeks, learning and planning how to promote the project to other parents, visiting New Covent Garden Market (where they will collect the surplus food they will cook with) and getting all important training in food hygiene.
At the training session last month, we discussed the steps necessary for running a cooking session, from promotion and planning through to logistics on the day. Ruth came along from Max Roach One O’Clock Club, who are also supporting parents to run their own cookery sessions, to share their experience and inspire the group. Participants reflected on the different roles that were needed and decided on the part they would each play. Afterwards we split in to two groups, one focusing on food collection and the other on promotion.
The promotion team focused on how they would recruit cooks and promote the project with people they know. They designed a poster and using a map of Stockwell started to decide where to target their promotion.
The food collection team brainstormed different ways of sourcing food. The group decided to try to get donations from traders at New Covent Garden Market, who both Brixton People’s Kitchen and Max Roach have used before. They decided that they would use the next meeting to visit the market and make links with the traders there.
This week, five parents visited the market. The group was shocked to hear from a supplier at the market that they throw away £2,000 worth of food every week. The group discussed how and when they will collect food for their cooking session and left weighed down with bags full of tomatoes, green beans and peppers! It is starting to feel, for us, like the group of parents really are beginning to take ownership of the project. We saw them organising each other and arranging who will do what on the cook day.
I was really encouraged by the change in the group, thinking back to how unsure the group was when we first spoke about the idea of them running the project themselves.
So now, it is over to the parents to take the lead, and put on a cooking session on 31st of March. We have been really inspired by how motivated and proactive they all have been so far. We hope this will be the first of many parent-led cooking sessions!
Leila and Fam,