How surplus food helped overcome an eating disorder in Edinburgh
Try Edinburgh Cyrenians’ Good Food Programme’s recipe for sweet potato and cauliflower bake
Lucy* was incredibly nervous when she first arrived at Edinburgh Cyrenians’ Good Food Programme, unsure of whether she would continue with the eight week cooking course.
She had stopped eating when her daughter left home.They were extremely close and Lucy’s reason for living ebbed away with her departure, something that manifested itself in her not eating.
When her weight fell to six stone Lucy sought help. Her key worker suggested she learn to enjoy food again through cooking classes, which brought her to the Cyrenians’ Good Food Programme.
The Programme takes food saved from waste by FareShare and uses it to teach basic kitchen skills to people affected by mental health problems or homelessness. The impact of this can be massive. Being able to whip up a meal from scratch opens up cheap and healthy dinner options for those with little income, while in Lucy’s case, resulted in life changing confidence and enthusiasm for food.
After two weeks Lucy was sharing meals with her fellow students and by the end of the eight weeks had bought brand new kitchen equipment to sustain her rediscovered enjoyment at home. She now cooks her favourite dishes of chicken fricassee and apple crumble for her daughter when she visits.
Food & Health Development Coordinator Chris Stevenson tells us “It isn’t always about not eating properly because of financial difficulties. It can be a lot more complicated, which is what is so rewarding about being a cooking tutor.”
Using food from FareShare makes the course sustainable by keeping costs down and also means that participants have access to quality fresh produce that they wouldn’t access otherwise. Chris explains “95% of the food we use is from FareShare. The impact of not having FareShare would be enormous; we would need a considerable amount more funding.”