A Community Food Hub for Kirkcaldy – how the idea came about
The idea for the Food Hub came about in 2014. We were inspired by the great interest in food and growing locally, and felt there was an opportunity to build on this and improve the well-being and sustainability of our community. So we carried out a survey of 450 people, asking what community food projects they would like to see happen in Kirkcaldy. We also spoke to lots of stakeholders including Fife Council, NHS Fife, Fife Community Food Project, Kirkcaldy Food Bank and Kirkcaldy Community Gardens & Allotments. These consultations showed high levels of support for our ideas and we used the feedback to develop our plans for the Food Hub. We then carried out a feasibility study and developed a business plan for the project. Our community consultation told us that a town centre site would be preferable for many of the Food Hub activities, to make them easily accessible by public transport.
To test out some of our ideas, we developed two pilot projects.
One of these, “Living Well on a Budget”, is working with families on low incomes who want to learn skills to help make the most of their money. It’s a six-week course, with hands-on cookery sessions to help you plan and prepare healthy low-cost meals and avoid wasting food. Another session covers household money management – budgeting, credit and dealing with debt. We’re working with Fife Community Food Project and Citizen’s Advice & Rights Fife on this, and we’re really pleased by its impact – one of the participants said “The course was eye opening – I have learned to make meals from scratch on a budget and spread food more across the week”. 30 people took part in Living Well on a Budget courses last year and we have funding to deliver even more this year.
The other pilot project is called “Food Works” and has so far given employability support to more than 40 volunteers. At our two community garden sites, within Ravenscraig Walled Garden and Dunnikier Park, volunteers have learned to plant and look after trees, grow fruit and veg, and carry out a range of landscaping tasks. They have taken part in accredited training including SVQs in horticulture. Another group, our Community Cook volunteers, have taken food hygiene courses and gained experience of cooking for events.