The aim of our Community Kitchen project is to transform usable, surplus food into freshly prepared meals for distribution to Foodbanks and larders across Dundee. The Kitchen has been launched to close the loop between food waste and food poverty by supporting organisations tackling food insecurity, while reducing the amount of food going to waste.
As a volunteer, there are various ways you can contribute to the day-to-day running of our project. Roles you can help with include:
Surplus Food Collector
We are building a network of local food businesses that are keen to pass their surplus food stock to us. This helps them reduce their food waste and adds to our supply of ingredients. As this network grows, we’ll need people to help collect this food from across the city. Days and times are flexible but largely depend on the food businesses’ schedules. You would be out and about between supermarkets, small shops and our Whitfield-based kitchen. You will probably enjoy chatting with the staff you receive food from, will be happy moving crates of food around (these could be heavy) and will be integral to building relationships between our project and local businesses. You will need access to your own vehicle to carry out this role.
Stock Systems Administrator
To measure the impact of what we are doing, we record the food that comes to us, what we use for cooking meals and what we ourselves pass on or discard. We also keep a record of the ingredients and meals in our stores, to help us plan what we cook and what we give to the larders and Foodbank we supply. This is a mainly desk-based role, inputting information to our Excel spreadsheets, although you may want to look around the stores to check some details. Much of this could be done from home. Our systems are new, and you would be welcome to suggest improvements.
Kitchen Prep & Cooking Team
There are roles for people with kitchen experience, which include preparing and cooking various meals in large batches to be portioned for sending out. Kitchen work is quite physically-demanding and you would be working with sharp equipment and heat. You could come in early for food prep (mainly peeling & chopping vegetables and then cooking over heat in large pots), or later in the day to portion out the chilled food, clear any unwashed dishes in our commercial dishwasher and clean down the kitchen. Veg prep for the following day is also possible in the afternoons. We currently cook to ideas rather than recipes, responding to our ever-changing ingredients supply! You will enjoy being a little creative in the kitchen and thinking on your feet. A Level 2 Food Hygiene certificate is required for these roles. We use the HACCP system of food safety management. If you are keen to volunteer in one of these roles but don’t have a certificate, let us know and we can arrange for you to do the study online.
Our food stores (fridges, freezers and pantry) need regular cleaning and tidying. You could come in for a couple of hours and focus on one or two areas at a time, or blast through them all in a longer day. There are also cleaning tasks in the kitchen that need carried out every so often, for example weekly or fortnightly, in addition to the daily cleaning that the kitchen team do as they work. These are things like wiping down the walls and cleaning the hob. Ideally, these tasks would be done on Fridays when the kitchen is not so busy.
This is a role that you could carry out alongside other tasks, and may only be required for a short time. You would look at the typical ingredients we receive and come up with tasty meal ideas for them. You might take some ingredients home to try out your recipes before putting them into electronic documents we can use in the kitchen. You would need to consider how the food can be cooked in bulk (upto 50 portions) using the equipment we have, the types of ingredients we use (no raw meat, fish or eggs) and how the meals will be packaged and reheated by those who receive them. You could even learn how to create food safety compliant labels for the final packaged meals.
We would love to create and maintain a kitchen garden outside our building, growing herbs and fresh produce which can be used in the food we produce. In time, we’d like the garden to offer educational opportunities, inviting people to pick and taste, showing them what they can grow at home with limited or upcycled resources and how they can use what they grow in their own kitchens.Some knowledge of growing and garden design would be ideal, but if you are keen to learn and get stuck in then that’s great too. We have limited gardening knowledge but plenty of enthusiasm and links to experts.
Contact Caroline on 01382 504033 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.