Waste not want not at Barra lunch

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The recent ‘food waste’ Sunday lunch, prepared from ingredients that may otherwise have been thrown away by the local co-op store in Barra was a great success.

Around 40 people enjoyed the community meal, the preparation of which was skilfully overseen by local chef Ian Johnstone, standing in for Isobel Graham, delayed on Uist because of adverse weather on Saturday.

Ian was assisted by a kitchen crew (including volunteers from Barra Co-op local forum; Buth Bharraigh, a development officer; and a SCF visitor)

The feast, including teas and coffees, was professionally served on the day by the local Croitear Og team (young crofters) project.

Those attending the three course meal, which had initially been announced as a cooking demonstration, were told when coffees and teas were being served, that many of the ingredients had been candidates for waste - if they hadn’t been used within the next few days.

The menu was constructed around the ingredients that were available, which may have otherwise gone to waste, and included dishes such as vegetable soup with garlic bread and croutons; mackerel-pate on lettuce; stuffed peppers; beef stew; mushroom risotto and carbonara pasta; doughnut bread-and-butter puddings and a Pavlova.

Robin Stewart, chair of the Scotland Constituency Member forum of the Co-op, introduced the event thanking those who had worked so hard made it possible.

He explained the current Co-op pilot project idea to create local forum groups - there are four such pilots running in Scotland with plans for more.

When asked why Barra was chosen to participate, he answered that it was appropriate to ensure that Barra was included as it may be a smaller remote Hebridean island but that it was no less important a community in what was currently a limited UK-wide project.

MaryAnn Ferguson is the local member pioneer and she coordinates the Barra co-operative local forum, who had chosen the issue of food waste to raise awareness about waste generally and particularly on the island.

Stephen Kelly, Co-operative Engagement Advisor, was very pleased with the turn out at the event and the enthusiasm of volunteers and community member guests.

A Local Food Action Plan initial workshop followed the extensive lunch as part of the Hungry for Rights project by the Scottish Crofting Federation.

The discussion focused on growing more local food, making more local fish available, reducing food waste and a Barra-based composting scheme.

Pictured is main organiser MaryAnn Ferguson, the chef Ian with chair of Co-op members forum Robin Stewart and the ‘to be disposed of’ food items.