If you live for food—eating it, making it, buying it, cooking it, growing it, talking about it, sharing it or studying it—then here are a few ideas to put your passion to use as a force for good. In your home, and in community, these tips will help you make all the difference – whether that’s to your neighbourhood, your wallet or the planet!
Start a neighbourhood potluck club
Take it in turns to host your neighbours for a Potluck dinner, or choose an easy venue. Invite everyone to bring pick and mix bits and dishes to enjoy together. It’s a good way to use up food that you might have in the fridge or cupboards, without having to make a full meal!
When everyone brings something to the table, you’ll get a full tummy as well as help on your way to your five a day – but not just the fruit and veg variety. The dinners also deliver on the Five Ways to Wellbeing, identified by the New Economics Foundation, by helping you connect and try new things, learn about each other and give to one another. All proven ways to make us feel good.
Five Ways to Wellbeing, New Economics Foundation:
Make meatless meals
The environmental benefits of a plant-based diet are now widely recognised, but you needn’t go all out vegetarian or vegan to make a difference. Simply eating less meat is one of the most meaningful changes we can make to curb greenhouse gas emissions, according to a recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. If everyone ate more fruit and veg and less red meat, emissions could fall 29% by 2050*
Start by making simple swaps, such as substituting minced beef with lentils, beans and mushrooms. These grains and vegetables are great for adding meatiness to dishes like Bolognese and chilli and making the switch can save you money too. (But, if you’ve a little more to spend, sundried tomatoes are another great substitute, full of texture and Unami flavour).
We’ve gathered so many great vegetarian recipes over the years, here are just some of our favourites. They're most delicious when shared with friends, neighbours and family:
Alice Fevronia’s Roased Veg, Pesto and Feta Tarts – great for lunchboxes and dinner parties alike
Tony Sinh’s Punjabi Choley (Chickpea Curry) – cheap, cheerful and filling
Rosie’s Vegan Sausage Rolls – meatless and can be made gluten-free too
Miguel’s Sweet Potato Falafel Wrap – easy, healthy and the simplest falafel you can make!
Spicy Quinoa Stuffed Peppers with Sweet Chilli Pumpkin Seeds – delicious, nutritious and looks pretty too
Set up a community food hub, pantry or fridge in your street
Take inspiration from this community fridge in Frome, Somerset, which gives to those in need and reduces food waste at the same time! Or help your community get savvy with their shopping, by joining, helping or starting a local Food Pantry.
Your Local Pantry is a membership food shop, focused on the needs of a particular neighbourhood. Pantries enhance communities by softening the blow of high living costs, offering a place to come together and access fresh, affordable, healthy food. Across the UK, 80,000+ people are already finding friendship, food and freedom through Pantry membership. Could you join them?
Find a local charity or community group that needs cooks or bakers
Use the filters on Do IT to find food-related ways you can volunteer. You might find your local church, religious or community centres host meet-ups or events and need help serving food to the elderly, for example.
Forge foodie connections
Meetup has a huge range of groups started by foodies far and wide: from lovers of local, to macaroon makers to medieval bakers. Forging connections with others with shared interests is a great mood booster – and sharing your culinary creations with friends and neighbours is too!
Have a cup of tea with a neighbour
If you know of someone that might be struggling, feeling low or lonely, reaching out and simply sharing a cup of tea can really make all the difference. Our friends at Reengage organise tea parties for isolated or lonely older people. If you love baking but require eating buddies, check out opportunities to start or join a tea party in your neighbourhood. Or if you know someone that would benefit from some cake and company, why not start by referring them?
Start a food related community project
If you’re a teacher of taste, an activist against food waste, a believer in buying local, a soldier for sustainability, a solution-finder for food shortages, or a revolutionary reducing food poverty then join our Network or attend a Community Camp. We have a UK-wide team of Community Network Developers ready to help you make your food project ideas a reality – and a bank of inspiring stories to help too.
Have a neighbourhood get-together
Get the neighbours together, at any time of the year—whether it’s for a Big Lunch, a barbeque, Sunday roast, a Christmas meal, a football finale, someone’s birthday, anniversary or wedding. Any excuse to eat, right? The power of food is strong, so harness your energy and enthusiasm and unleash its delicious goodness in your community!
Getting together can be as full on or simple as you like, so give it a try and let us know how you get on.
The power of food is strong, so harness your energy and enthusiasm and unleash its delicious goodness in your community!