Cracking good food
Harriet Knowles Campaigner, Manchester
20th Dec 2012
Cracking Good Food was set up in 2010 to help tackle food inequalities in Manchester and beyond. They teach people how to cook tasty, healthy and affordable, seasonal food from scratch. Adele, one of the founding members, was inspired to create the initiative after 5 years at Chorlton's Unicorn Grocery. Every week, perfectly good vegetables that didn't
quite meet Unicorn's standard for sale were put out for the public to use. Those benefiting from the misshapen or wilting vegetables always came up with tasty ways to use them, and this got Adele thinking about how we could better use food that often goes to waste.
Cracking Good Food offers all hands on participatory sessions and courses to help people make the most of what's in their cupboards. It teaches people to cook instinctively and reduce their food waste. They work with the most disadvantaged members of the community who are often on a poorer diet because of poverty. Adele thinks there are different reasons for it. "If you don't have local shops near you, you tend to shop at bigger supermarkets where processed food is cheaper than fresh vegetables but not really good for you.
Sometimes people also lack the basic skills to turn ingredients into a meal," she explains.
Cracking Good Food also champions seasonal products and cooperates with local growers - boosting our local economy and protecting the environment. But there have also been some challenges along the way. For the first two years funds were provided by the Big Lottery Fund, which has now stopped and thus the team have to work hard to capitalise on their successes and become sustainable.
Nevertheless, Adele and Juliet are optimistic about the future and have lots of exciting things planned - including plans to work within self-catered halls to teach students cooking skills beyond pasta pesto. The team have also been making links with the NHS and housing associations to take their message to more people.
Juliet adds: "We believe everyone has the right to good food, but because of barriers and lack of skills, many people are denied that right. We seek to address that."
I think that the team behind Cracking Good Food deserves the title of Food Heroes because of their dedication to helping vulnerable groups - not only they want to be sure that people are well fed but their courses also seek to promote a fairer food system for all.
If you feel like supporting them, they are currently looking for volunteers and cooking leaders. Please visit the website for more details: www.crackinggoodfood.org.