New Leven project to tackle food waste and single-use plastic

A new project aimed at cutting food waste and single use plastic is to be launched later this month.

The new service is already over-subscribed.

The People’s Pantry will operate out of The Centre in Leven, giving members the chance to access a cafe for a free drink and chat, pick ‘n’ mix refill station with daily essentials, such as pasta, rice and coffee, and entry to a pantry filled with various foodstuffs.

The users will get ten tokens which they can then use to pick up different foods.

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It costs £2 per week – but this is just to fund the transportation of the food to The Centre.

Billy Bain in the new pantry.

The scheme has been developed by the 15 volunteers who help run – and use – the service.

And it has proved to be a popular idea. An open day was held last week for members of the public to find out more about the scheme and sign up.

Already it is oversubscribed – more than 100 people have signed up to use it, and there is now a waiting list.

However, those who have not yet signed up to use the service can still benefit from the People’s Pantry.

One of the key elements of the project is the battle against period poverty. Anyone, whether they are a member or not, can go along and pick up sanitary products for free.

“We want to create an environment people enjoy coming to and where they value what they get,” explained Billy Bain, a member of Fife Council’s Community Food Team.

“And at the same time we’re reducing food waste and achieving our aims in terms of single use plastic, period poverty, social isolation. If we can do that, it will be a success.”

Users will be able to access a range of foods – this week the fridge was stocked with pheasant – with the hope that this will allow them to extend the range of foods they are eating.

Recipe cards will be available as well, so users can make better use of the foods available.

The creation of the People’s Pantry has been a community effort.

The Centre’s management committee is financially supporting the project, volunteers from the Community Trade Hub in Buckhaven did work in the stockroom, and Stuart’s is donating food.

Billy hopes that, if the scheme proves to be a success, it could be set up in other parts of the area.

“We hope that if it does well then we could look at expanding it throughout Levenmouth,” he explained.

The People’s Pantry starts on April 16, running between 10am-1pm.

Fife Council is also supporting the scheme. Last week, councillors on the Levenmouth Area Committee agreed to provide the People’s Pantry with £7768.

Cllr Ken Caldwell said: “This is a great initiative – it will reduce food waste and make people more aware of the diverse range of food available.

“It’s great to see local producers and businesses getting involved. The council have supported it. The Community Trade Hub have been involved. The Centre committee has been involved in the running of it. It’s a whole community effort.”