The MAXwell centre in Dundee started the ‘Tend and Share’ project in May 2016, inspired by the increased demand for food bank referrals from their centre’s staff and volunteers. The need for longer-term responses to food insecurity came from speaking with those receiving food bank referrals and realising that food parcels were only a short-term solution to the problems people were facing. ‘Tend and Share’ built on the centre’s already successful community garden to support people experiencing food insecurity to become more independent in relation to food availability and to promote self-esteem, skills and dignity.
People experiencing significant financial hardship and increased risk of food insecurity are invited to the garden to learn how to grow and cook with their own vegetables. There is an emphasis on learning comforting and nourishing recipes, as well as ways to improve meals created from food bank parcels with the addition of fresh vegetables. Participants also learn food preservation skills such as canning, pickling and creating a ‘pantry’ in order to decrease food waste. People from diverse backgrounds and experiences leave the project with marketable gardening and cooking skills as well as increased confidence and the ability to grow and prepare their own food.