Real Food, Real Folk: the co-op promoting local food in Glasgow

A co-operative in Glasgow, formed by a group of the city’s leading chefs, is celebrating local food and promoting healthy eating. Initiated by Colin Clydesdale of the Ubiquitous...

A co-operative in Glasgow, formed by a group of the city’s leading chefs, is celebrating local food and promoting healthy eating.

Initiated by Colin Clydesdale of the Ubiquitous Chip restaurant, and his partner Carol Wright, Real Food, Real Folk is a not-for-profit collective which counts chefs from city eateries Cail Bruich, The Cottonrake Bakery, The Crabshakk, The Gannet, Guy’s, Mother India, Ox and Finch and Stravaigin among its members.

The co-operative is “the result of a realisation by a group of like-minded chefs that Glasgow was not getting the recognition it deserved in culinary terms and that West of Scotland produce was not sufficiently celebrated”, said Mr Clydesdale, who is also chair of the organisation.

“We were given help in setting up by Co-operative Development Scotland – the co-operative model best suited our ethos, bringing us together through our common goals to change perceptions of Glasgow as a food destination and address the city’s food poverty and poverty of awareness.”

The co-op aims to showcase Glasgow’s growing food revival through a series of events, then reinvest the profits in education and workshops in less affluent areas of the city, where unemployment and social issues feed into food poverty.

Real Food, Real Folk’s first event is Let’s East Glasgow! on Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 September, which will see the chefs present a pop-up market and restaurant festival in the SWG3 venue in Finniestown. As well as celebrating the city’s food culture, the event has been developed around the theme of social inclusion.

“While Glasgow’s food scene is on the ascendant, many across the city still suffer from poor nutrition,” said Mr Clydesdale. “Real Food, Real Folk wants the fiesta of food to encourage everyone to eat more healthily by cooking up the abundance of great locally grown fresh and seasonal produce in their own kitchens.

“We hope that Lets Eat Glasgow! will be a great success and provide funds for ongoing work in social inclusion and education. The chefs are already working with school kids in after-school clubs and with mums in deprived areas and we would like to extend this further. We also want to bring the leading thinkers on addressing nutritional issues in the developed world to Glasgow and develop a forum for ground-breaking collaboration and work in the area.”

The weekend will include a West of Scotland producers’ market, food demonstrations and meet-the-livestock events. During the day there will be a range of fresh dishes on sale for £5 or £10 each, prepared by the chefs in the co-operative, and in the evening there will be a collective Real Food, Real Folk restaurant.

Ten stalls at the event are being donated to established community groups that address Glasgow’s food issues, including Glasgow Locavore, Maryhill Food Bank, Coach House Trust and Plan Bee – and to keep costs down, the chefs are giving their time for free.

Scottish Enterprise is supporting Let’s Eat Glasgow! with £20,000, and the co-op’s directors are also seeking additional funding and sponsorship.

  • Entry to the event is free. Advance info and early bird meal and event programme tickets can be found at letseatglasgow.co.uk.
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