It’s all over the news. reliance on food banks in the UK is set to rise in coming years.
Food insecurity is caused by a myriad of triggers: loss of disability entitlements, benefit caps, reduction in tax credits, the rise in the unstable gig economy etc...
Away from the excruciating statistics, we’re inspired to be working the next generation of change makers from Brixton’s Christ Church Primary School, learning to take matters into their own hands.
At a grassroots level, individuals and families frequenting food banks rarely suffer with food shortages alone. It’s usually a noxious cocktail of poverty rendering them unable to pay rent, heat their homes, buy basic clothes and toiletries. The hangover effects, hamper nutrition, mental health and well being in turn fuelling pervasive conditions like depression, anxiety, social dysfunction and isolation. All of these, much harder to recover from in the long term.
Projects like Enterprise Growing Gardens, funded by City Bridge Trust, aim to empower our younger generation to address these systemic issues at the root. The vegan diet is often seen as something exclusive to affluent pockets of society. As a social enterprise vegan cafe, Cafe Van Gogh's aim is to disrupt that myth and drive accessibility to a healthy plant-based diet for all.
On a superficial level, the programme works in schools to enhance outdoor learning and play for children. With the support of project leaders and teachers, the young people grow, produce and sell vegetables to local food businesses and community markets.
On a deeper level, these pupils simultaneously benefit from food nutrition education, take ownership of the green spaces within their school grounds, exercise enterprising skills like leadership, relationship building and presentations skills.
When the team here at Cafe Van Gogh heard about the project, of course we jumped at the chance to support as a core part of a social enterprise mission. In addition to haggling over mini courgette prices with the rowdy 9 year olds, we’ve welcomed them into the cafe for tasting workshops so they can see how creative we can get with a plant based diet rich in vegetables, herbs and spices.
We’re delighted to announce our supplier partnership with the young entrepreneurs of Christ Church School. We hope programmes like this sow the seeds for radical new perspectives and connected relationship with food for upcoming generations.