Edinburgh Larder to embark on food education drive

Fred Berkmiller demonstrates healthy cooking for Eleanor Cunningham and pupils from Gracemount Primary School. Picture: Contributed
Fred Berkmiller demonstrates healthy cooking for Eleanor Cunningham and pupils from Gracemount Primary School. Picture: Contributed
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The social enterprise arm of a cafe and restaurant network based in Edinburgh is aiming to raise £10,000 via crowdfunding to buy an educational food truck promoting better eating habits.

Eleanor Cunningham told The Scotsman that the Edinburgh Larder, which she founded and owns, was set up six years ago to showcase local and seasonal ingredients.

However, many customers have reported over the years that they “aren’t really sure what to do” with such produce, and “a lot of people just seem to have lost confidence in the kitchen cooking for themselves and their families”.

The fundraising is taking place on behalf of Edinburgh Food Social, which Cunningham launched to make local food more accessible.

Having successfully trialled a hired food truck, Cunningham said: “It’s been great getting out into the community – they seem to really appreciate what we’re doing.”

READ MORE: What is a social enterprise and how can I get involved?

However, it became clear that something more permanent was required. “Running the rented food truck is expensive, and owning our own truck will mean we can focus our funding specifically on the projects we have in mind,” she explained.

The goal is to use the vehicle as a mobile kitchen to tackle food inequality, providing cooking classes to local schools and communities.

Cunningham said: “The Food Truck, as we are calling it, will give us an accessible, approachable and portable classroom that can get right in to the heart of communities and schools, which don’t always have the infrastructure in place to support food education.”

The crowdfunding campaign is backed by French-born restaurateur Fred Berkmiller, who was recently named food pioneer of the year at the Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards.

The chef, who owns L’Escargot Bleu and L’Escargot Blanc in Edinburgh, said: “This is an excellent way to encourage young people and their parents to get in to healthy cooking. Decades ago, people relied on using locally grown produce to feed their families healthy and inexpensive meals. I think this project will help us to see a return to that way of thinking.”

The crowdfunding lasts 30 days, and Cunningham said: “There are loads of other things that we’d like to do.” These include setting up a kitchen in the centre of Edinburgh to give lessons on how to cook with local ingredients.

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