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Close up of a cake on a table of party food which is outside - the cake is decorated to look like a garden and has TV character Morph in wellies waving Close up of a cake on a table of party food which is outside - the cake is decorated to look like a garden and has TV character Morph in wellies waving

Bringing people together through food

By Sarah Ward

At Incredible Edible we love connecting people through food, so we’re really pleased to be working with the Food for Life Get Together team over the next 12 months.

The Food for Life Get Together programme, funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, aims to bring older and younger people together around food activities – growing, cooking and eating.  We know that lots of our Incredible groups connect communities who wouldn’t usually come together, so we’re going to develop and share our learning of how community groups can organise activities specifically for older and younger people to enjoy food activities together.  Food for Life Get Togethers can be any event that brings different generations together through food. It doesn’t need to be big or complex to organise, it might just be a few people of different ages sitting down together and sharing something good to eat. Or it could be a BBQ, street party or another community event you are already planning.  You can host an event at any time throughout the year, but you can also link to established national events and be part of something huge. Get involved in the national food events across the year – Grandparent Gardening Week in spring, the Big Lunch (today) and Roast Dinner Day in autumn.

Incredible Edible Dunstable hold a Big Lunch every year, but this year it’s extra special because it will also celebrate the opening of a new growing space which has been created to ensure older people and people using wheelchairs can get involved in growing food.  The new area has accessible raised beds so people using wheel chairs can wheel right up to the bed and there’s also a seat for having a well-earned rest after tending the beds.  The Town Mayor will be officially opening the new growing space as part of the Big Lunch celebrations, which will also involve a best dressed dog competition and face painting for younger people.  And of course, a Big Lunch wouldn’t be complete without folk bringing along food to share, as well enjoying any of the produce which is ready to harvest in the garden.  The Incredible Edible Dunstable team work really hard to put on the event, which is more than rewarded when there are a sea of happy faces (young and old!) chatting and enjoying each other’s company while enjoying food together.

Food for Life Get Togethers will be happening in some of the UK’s most disadvantaged and ethnically diverse areas, to tackle both unhealthy eating and loneliness in communities. Sadly, around 200,000 older people go over a month without chatting to a friend or family member and almost half of older people in care homes consider their depression ‘a normal part of ageing’. We want Get Togethers to become regular events in communities that help people across generations thrive through healthier meals and improved wellbeing.  Does your Incredible Edible group already involve young people and older people together in your activities?  If so, please contact us as we’d love to hear from you and share your learning with other.  And let us know if you’d like to start running some activities and we can share our learning and guidance.  And of course, visit the Food for Life Get Togethers website for further information and inspiration.