Our community food projects have been enjoying meeting weekly. We have three projects running regularly: our Sunny Soups food waste programme uses surplus ingredients to make nutritious food which is then given away for free. Our Sunny’s Kitchen community meal has just had its second anniversary, and we’ve now run four courses of our Cook Club after school at Dunbar Primary School.

Since February, Sunny Soups and Sunny’s Kitchen have saved 671kg of food going to waste. This food has been made into soups, curries and pasta sauce in Sunny Soups, where it is stored in a freezer at Dunbar Foodshare (our town’s food bank) and offered to those who come to their weekly social café. We also take soup weekly to some local charities – Dunbar Day Centre and to The Ridge’s Recovery Cafe. It has been handed out to volunteers, given to The Ridge’s community pantry and distributed from a ‘help yourself’ table at Sunny’s Kitchen. It has also been made into weekly two-course meals at Sunny’s Kitchen, where around 30 people meet each week to cook, eat and socialise.

We recently asked our guests why they like coming to Sunny’s Kitchen. Here’s what some of them had to say:

“Coming to Sunny’s Kitchen gives me a good lift and brightens my day.”

“It’s inclusive, intergenerational and using food which may be unused otherwise.”

“The food is excellent and it is a great cross-section of people of different ages and backgrounds. I enjoy it so much I leave work early every Monday!”

“We get to know members of the community that we otherwise might not meet. There is a great wee community here.”

“It is a break from the home routine, the kids love it and have a blast running about with their pals. The food is great and I don’t have to cook it. 10/10 intergenerational fun.”

Our surplus food comes from our community-owned shop the Crunchy Carrot, where we also get as much of our bought produce as possible too; from a local organic farm called Phantassie Organics; from FareShare and occasionally from other outlets – we were recently delighted to receive the contents of two chest freezers from a local restaurant which was undergoing a refit.

We’ve had such a great time at our first four Cook Club courses this year with around 28 children taking part in five sessions each. The course takes in:

1. Pizza – how to make dough and tomato sauce; how to safely use a chef’s knife; an introduction to some new veg and how we learn to like new foods;

2. Veg & lentil soup, cheese scones – start consolidating some of the knife skills they were taught in session 1, meet new techniques like sweating veg, rubbing in butter and flour, boiling vs simmering etc.;

3. Cottage pie and salad – more of those knife skills (they’re getting good by this point!), meet a few new veggies, how to make salad dressing;

4. Sushi and stir fry – a chance to try some new flavours and learn about different cuisines, and show off their newly learnt knife skills by chopping veg super thinly for the stir fry;

5. Choc chip cookies, blueberry pancakes and stewed fruit – try some seasonal fruit, learn some basic baking techniques and get hands-on flipping those pancakes, increasing their confidence over the hobs.

The first three courses after the summer holidays are already filling up, and we’re looking forward to getting a new group of children excited about making their tea!

Our Vegware pots are invaluable for all of these projects: our Sunny Soups are potted up in Vegware, and any extra food at the end of the Sunny’s Kitchen meal is potted up and handed out to guests. The boxes are ideal for potting up the kids’ creations after Cook Club, and in the holiday cooking sessions we’re running this summer. Our budget would take a big hit if we had to buy the pots, we really appreciate the donations.