Community Larder News

The food larder and community fridge based in the library continue to operate successfully, thanks to the efforts of about thirty volunteers and hundreds of WhatsApp communications!

 Most of the food on offer comes from food items near or past their 'best before' date and are donated by local businesses. Sadly, Steve from Stevie B's has been very poorly and we are no longer able to collect from them. But we have had some spectacularly huge donations from Tesco recently, one amounting to a third of a tonne of fruit and vegetables and, since the library was closed, necessitated a special opening of the hub in North Street. We wondered how many sprouts Crediton residents could actually consume….. but, in the event, they all went! Local people have also donated surpluses from their own larders and gardens and we have particularly welcomed contributions from the community allotment. One memorable donation came from the local Young Farmers' Group who gave us the food left over from their harvest festival celebration in Exeter cathedral.

 Another source of food comes from Exeter Food Action's warehouse based on the Marsh Barton Industrial estate, available to some core members of the Food larder group. We only collect from there if we are in the area in any case. They always have bananas and we think Crediton cooks must be expert bakers of banana bread by now!

 We also pay £1,000 per annum to FareShare and receive surplus food from further back in the food chain (so food which doesn't get as far as the supermarkets) and, for that, we are guaranteed food to at least the value of £100 per week. Their van arrives with that food on a Friday lunchtime and the community fridge can be bursting on Friday afternoons, often with some high quality food items which local people really seem to appreciate. Thanks to the generosity of Rupert Geering who lives next door to the library and houses our spare fridge, we can often eke that food into the following week.

 We are due to pay our next annual fee to them in June and we have to fund raise before then. Kirsty Janes has become expert in securing grants, but we have also raised money by providing soup and cakes at the Green Fair in September and doing teas and coffees at a library event. One of our volunteers and photographer, Paul McLoughlin, makes beautiful greetings cards and he has been donating half of his takings to the food larder group. Any other ideas for ways of fund raising would be gratefully received.

We are very aware of how valuable the larder is in these days of the cost of living crisis, and, with the strapline 'filling bellies, not bins', the group are looking for ways to increase the amount of surplus food we offer to local people and reducing food waste. Three ideas which have surfaced recently are to increase the sales of Paul's cards, perhaps by finding a permanent local outlet; to provide recipe cards in the library for commonly donated foods; and to create a gleaning task force to go around to local gardens and farms to glean excess food … how many apples go unpicked in Crediton we wonder?

 If you would like to join our band of volunteers or have any bright ideas, do contact me via the link on this page.

Alison Orchard