Lecturer spearheads knowledge exchange project with Truro Food Bank

11 July 2023

Gareth Farr in the kitchen
Gareth Farr - food poverty project
Type: Text
Category: Research

A playwright and lecturer from Falmouth University’s Academy of Music and Theatre Arts (AMATA) has kick-started a new recipe card and video series initiative tackling food poverty. 

Following a successful run of his play at Hampstead Theatre in London, Falmouth Acting BA(Hons) lecturer Gareth Farr’s new play Biscuits for Breakfast is a comment on the food poverty crisis in the UK. Directed by Tessa Walker and set in Cornwall, Biscuits for Breakfast tells the story of unlikely couple Joanne and Paul who, through no fault of their own, find themselves slipping into poverty.   

Speaking of the collaboration with Truro Food Bank and Rupert Cooper, Gareth Farr said: "During my research for my play Biscuits for Breakfast, I was staggered by the scale of food support needed in Truro. The play approaches food in lots of different ways, in particular the sense of wellbeing and joy that can come from cooking. It was clear that there was a desire to get the most use out of the dried and tinned goods in the foodbank boxes and to explore ways of adding flavour so that these donations could become ingredients for nutritious meals.  

"With the support of Falmouth University’s Policy change fund and chef Ruper Cooper, we raised enough money to produce a series of videos and fund additional herbs and spices for each meal that aren’t usually contained in food donations. Truro Food Bank will now release a ‘recipe of the month’ scheme, along with food recipe cards into the foodbank box. Hopefully this project can help people who require food support to feel a sense of possibility and opportunity around the food that they are receiving and to experience the joy and wellbeing that can be found from cooking."  

People always need to eat. If you can cook, really cook, if you know flavour and taste and texture, people will pay you to do it. People always need to eat. Always...

- From Gareth Farr’s production of Biscuits for Breakfast.

After this experience, Gareth kick-started a collaboration with chef Rupert Cooper and Truro Foodbank on a series of recipe cards to be included in food boxes and a video tutorial series for the food bank’s website. The recipes will all include food items that are commonly found in food boxes, helping users of this vital service to make more of their meals.  

Falmouth University is supporting the scheme through the design and production of the recipe cards alongside an assembly of colleagues and students from AMATA and the School of Film and Television, who are producing and directing the video series. Also supporting the video series is Louis Purver, Co-founder of I Said It Ltd, a video and media production company based in Falmouth.  

Simon Fann, Manager of Truro Food Bank, said: "It’s crucial that people in need of food assistance not only get food when they need it, but are also encouraged to use it, so we don't end up with any food waste. This initiative is not only about getting nutritious food to people but improving mental health and confidence.

"We believe a food bank should be about more than food. Most of the people Truro Food Bank is feeding are families, so this initiative has a knock-on effect to the next generation. If we can start from an early age getting kids engaged and interested in healthy foods, then we’re building skills from the ground up and helping to break cycles."

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