An innovative new Abertay University project will use business expertise to find creative solutions to Scotland’s ongoing food poverty crisis.
A Food Jam will be staged at Abertay’s Dundee Business School on Friday March 31 after the University became the only Scottish institution to secure funding from a Higher Education Funding Council England social innovation stream.
With 60,000 referrals inside six months to the Trussell Trust alone last year, stark figures show Scottish families are relying on foodbanks to survive every day.
The Abertay enterprise and networking event will explore food chain redesign, community driven food supply systems and opportunities with urban orchards, city farms and local farms.
Participants will learn the value of using a Growth Mindset approach and gain additional tools to become innovative and entrepreneurial.
Organisations can expect to leave with a tailored action plan for development to act as guide for operational effectiveness.
Dr Gary Mulholland of Dundee Business School said the interactive Food Jam session is part of the Appetite For Change project in collaboration with Coventry, Lincoln, Staffordshire and The Open universities.
He added: “Abertay University is holding a Food Jam to collect expertise and experience with the help of James Hilder and Marie Duguid of Social Enterprise Academy.
"It’s not just about tackling hunger, it’s also about getting involved in your community to share your expertise, resources and get fit at the same time - digging over gardens and planting trees is fun and healthy.
“We want to encourage local farmers, food growers, gardeners, food distributors, food retailers and restaurants cafes to join us on the day.”
Derek Marshall Trustee of Dundee Foodbank and Chairman of Angus Foodbank said: "Both Dundee and Angus Foodbanks have seen substantial increase in demand for their services this past year, with Dundee feeding over 9,300 individuals in food crisis and Angus feeding nearly 3,500 in the last year. Nearly one third of these are children.
“This is a wholly unacceptable situation for 21st Century Scotland which strips people of their dignity and self-respect."
The event is being supported by the Scottish Government, Dundee City Council, Kirsty Thomson (Along Came Kirsty), James Hutton Institute, Abertay Food Innovation Academy, NHS Tayside, and the University of Dundee.
Abertay Student Association (ASA) will also take part.
An ASA spokesperson said: “We encourage students to make use of their skills and become innovators in their fields, exploring and developing innovations that address pressing social problems such as food poverty in our society.
“We have the power to facilitate discussion and support students with our time, skills and resources and we need to make the most of it.”
The free programme runs from 10am to 4pm and is open to anyone in the community with ideas that could create new solutions to food poverty or with insight into the food industry.
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