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The Local Pantry

A New Initiative for Somerset West and Taunton Residents.

Hundreds of thousands of tonnes of good food is wasted by the UK food industry every year. At the same time, millions of people are struggling to afford to eat. By working in partnership with organisations like surplus food charity, FareShare South West, SWT hopes to start tackling these two issues here in Somerset West and Taunton.

The Local Pantry model is one that has worked very well elsewhere. Because of our local networks and agricultural location we are in a great position to trial this project as part of a Somerset-wide plan to have a small network of Local Pantries in each district. Somerset West and Taunton Community Resilience Team are working in partnership with Somerset County Council and Rowbarton Methodist Church to offer our first Local Pantry in Rowbarton, North Taunton. By partnering with FareShare, this project offers low-cost, nutritious food for residents, and provides an annual saving of up to £1,144 per family.

By choosing to become a member of a Local Pantry people are helping to save perfectly good food from going to waste, while also saving money.

About the Local Pantry

The initial set up costs of the local pantry, for example essentials such as a fridge and storage, are funded from a Central Government Covid-19 relief scheme, and ongoing costs will be covered through the membership fee of £3.50 per family.

Perfectly good but excess food, for example from food producers, is gathered by FareShare, who then re-distribute it at low cost to community groups, such as The Local Pantry Rowbarton. Fareshare works with large organisations to help bridge the gap between food producers, supermarkets and landfill to ensure good, fresh (but surplus) food is not wasted.

All preparation, handling and collecting of food will follow best standards of cleanliness and volunteers will abide by social distancing to protect staff, volunteers and residents.

Depending on the interests and needs of members, other activities and support will be on offer, such as meal planning, cookery classes, socials and access to advice.

The Local Pantry – Rowbarton

The Local Pantry Rowbarton opened on 23 March 2021 and will be open to members every Tuesday between 2 and 4pm. Membership costs just £3.50 and for this you receive £15 - £20 worth of food each week, including fresh fruit, meat/ dairy and family favourites, to stock up the cupboard and fridge.

Membership lasts for up to six months, renewal upon request if there are places. The scheme has 30 spaces.

Local Pantry leaflet

How to Join the Local Pantry - Rowbarton

To register your interest please complete the online form.

For more information visit the Facebook page or email: RowbartonPantry@gmail.com

How to Support the Scheme

As this is a pilot scheme if you have any ideas or would like to support this initiative please contact us by email: TheLocalPantry@somersetwestandtaunton.gov.uk

If you would specifically like to support or volunteer at the local pantry in Rowbarton please contact the team leader Gillian Flick by email: RowbartonPantry@gmail.com

Differences between a Local Pantry and a Food Bank

It differs from the food bank in several important ways:

  • It isn’t means tested
  • As well as ambient food (tinned) it offers fresh food such as meat, dairy, fruit and vegetables
  • It will be run by the local community for the local community
  • It offers a long term solution; up to six months, enabling households to plan
  • It is a membership scheme, so requires a commitment on both sides.
  • It uses good food that would otherwise go to waste and therefore reduces food waste and supports our climate change commitment.