Rooted in sustainability
Tiverton’s REROOTED is a café creating meals from surplus and waste food. Team member Tess Wiltshire tells KATE WILLIAMS the story behind it
Horrified to learn that one in three bags of shopping bought nationally ended up in the bin, Tess Wiltshire vowed to help make a change in her Mid Devon town.
Already sharing an interest with others in how to live more sustainably, Tess was a part of the national Transition Network - a movement started in 2005 concentrating on communities addressing the challenges they face locally and coming together to crowd-source solutions.
‘‘We never cease to amaze each other with what we come up with’’
Tess explains: “I have been a part of the Transition Movement around Tiverton and the villages for 12 years looking at different ways to live sustainably. Two years ago, I started hearing that one in three bags of shopping bought nationally ended up in the bin!
“I was horrified and couldn’t believe that all that energy for growing food, the water used, the man hours, the fertiliser, the transport to get food to the retailers, for trips to the shops for people to spend their hardearned cash to buy food that ends up in the bin! That’s madness.”
Tiverton Area Communities Transition (TACT), a non-profit community organisation which is part of the national transition scheme, works on projects creating more sustainable and resilient communities with a low carbon economy in the Tiverton area.
Following a Love Food Hate Waste training event in February last year organised by Community Action Groups Devon (CAG Devon), a group interested in creating community meals from surplus food and leftovers called Grub’s Up! was formed and Tess was part of it. Due to a name clash, the group changed the name to REROOTED, a project under TACT.
The aim was to look at ways volunteers could help local people waste less food in the home and the group has gone from strength-to-strength. It now runs a monthly surplus food café offering a three-course freshly cooked meal on a pay-as-you-feel basis.
Tess says: “The REROOTED café is an energetic project run by volunteers who really care about making the best of our food. It’s great that we can make meals that people enjoy from food that would otherwise be wasted.
“It’s a huge challenge each month to decide how to use those ten loaves of bread or that sack of slightly sprouting parsnips. We never cease to amaze each other with what we come up with.
“On average we feed about 70 to 80 people on the first Saturday of every month at 12.30pm in St George’s Church Extension in Tiverton behind the church which is next to the Town Hall.
“We recognise that household food poverty is all around us too so REROOTED events are open to anyone.
“The people that come to the café are getting a great lunch and seeing what can be done with ‘ whatever you have’.” For further details email email@example.com or call 07941 330450.