The OX4 Food Crew Partnership

The OX4 Food Crew (OX4FC) is a partnership of organisations based in OX4 responding to rising levels of food poverty in our neighbourhoods. Flo’s – the Place in the Park, Ark-T, Waste2Taste CIC and Oxford Community Action (OCA) are working together to source, package, cook and deliver healthy, affordable, and culturally appropriate food parcels and cooked meals to people experiencing food insecurity, which has been exposed and exacerbated by the pandemic.  Since April 2020, we have responded to local needs and delivered over 16,000 prepared meals through Waste2Taste and over 35000 food parcels via OCA.

What are we doing?  

Emergency food relief: 

OCA distributes vital food support to marginalised groups from the global majority every Wednesday from Ark-T Centre in Temple Cowley. Approximately 2650 people use this service weekly.

200 hot healthy lunches are cooked by Waste2Taste and delivered by volunteers 2x per week to people experiencing food insecurity in OX4.

If you would benefit from receiving food support from OCA – you can sign up here

If you would benefit from receiving a home cooked meal from Waste2Taste – sign up here.

Supporting Diversity Led Social Enterprises

We support diverse groups to grow their own ideas for socially minded businesses by locating seed funding, affordable/free space and advice, so they can become self sufficient in their own right. We are currently working with two social enterprises – No Vice Ice and Damascus Rose Kitchen. Find out more about these projects here.

If you have an idea for a social enterprise, get in touch by emailing info@flosoxford.org.uk

Food and cooking support

We offer cooking for health and wellbeing courses for various groups such as parents and people homeless/vulnerably housed. These focus on supporting people with how to prepare affordable, healthy meals with different ingredients.

If you would be interested in attending a free cooking course as a parent, or for any other reason, contact Marie – marie.lehri@waste2taste.co.uk

Pay-As-You-Feel Community Meals

A series of pay-as-you-feel community meals, open to all. These aim to reduce the stigma around food and use the power of sharing food to overcome isolation as well as food poverty.  These take place at Flo’s – the place in the park cafe and are drop in events.

Upcoming dates:

Monday 2nd August 1-3pm

Monday 9th August 1-3pm

Monday 16th August 1-3pm.

About OX4: We work in OX4 specifically to tackle both the immediate needs of critical food poverty in our area, as well the more systemic food injustices.In parts of OX4 30% of children are experiencing food poverty. This has only increased since the Covid-19 pandemic due to job loss & insecurity, increased mental health burden, and poor physical health/disability. OX4 also contains 8 of the top 10-20% most deprived wards in the UK, in areas such as Northfield Brook, Blackbird Leys and Rosehill. 

The 2021 National Food Strategy has said:

The pandemic has turned the divide between the rich and the poor into a gaping chasm. A terrible legacy of this time will be the exponential growth of food banks and hand-outs. Sadly the fact is that the less well off you are, the more likely you are to be prey to unhealthy food. There is a nutritional gap between rich and poor in this country, and it’s a slowly unfolding tragedy.” – Dame Louise Casey, National Food Strategy 2021.

Why we work together

Our partnership was born out of the shared belief that local organisations working collaboratively is the most informed, efficient and thorough way to address our aims. Our focus is on healthy, affordable and accessible food, not just about emergency responses. Many of the organisations involved with our partnership have lived experience of food insecurity and wider structural injustices around race, class and health/disability. Our partnership has an ongoing commitment to hear voices of these often unrepresented and unheard communities and co-produce responses to the challenges they face with dignity and respect.

Overcoming barriers to access

Many of the people we are working with are unable to access other forms of food support due to cost, travel, timings of availability. Our partnership is seeking to overcome these by making sure our work provides:

  • Healthy, nutritious food that is culturally appropriate with options for children
  • Food that is free or by a pay-as-you-can donation
  • Both food parcels and hot cooked meals are provided to address different needs
  • Regular, consistent offers with no “breaks” in the service.
  • All our projects are in OX4 to minimise travel costs. Many of our hot meals are delivered.

Our Volunteers:

Our partnership has been lucky to work with a team of fantastic volunteers across all of our services. Our volunteers have helped with all sorts of jobs, including helping pack/deliver parcels during OCA’s Wednesday food distribution session, stewarding community meals at Flo’s, delivering cooked meals around OX4 on foot or by bike and bringing the project to life with their fantastic ideas, dedication and passion for the cause.

 If you would be interested in joining this fantastic team and getting involved with any elements of the project, please contact Ella@ark-t.org If you are able to volunteer to help deliver the meals to families around OX4 on Tuesday or Thursdays please sign up here. Thank you!

Our Partners

OCA

OCA was officially founded in 2020 to support new and emerging Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities (BAME) alongside more established BAME communities to tackle and overcome barriers created by structural inequalities (e.g. labour market and ethnic health inequalities) that prevent BAME individuals and communities from reaching their full potential and enjoying equal representation and participation as active citizens within UK institutions and wider civil society.

www.oxfordcommunityaction.org

Ark-T

Ark-T is a community arts charity with two community centres in OX4. We use the powers of Creativity and Community to change lives, tackle inequality and inspire community-driven social change. We passionately believe that creativity and community are powerful resources that can regenerate people’s mental health, their vision for their lives and the world around them.  

Food has always been central to Ark-T’s programmes – each creative session we run pivots around a shared meal or snack for nourishment and connection.  During the pandemic the way we all work changed and our programmes moved online, but food remained central, with every participant receiving a recipe bag to make at home and eat together.  We also joined the community response to make sure our neighbours were supported with food by setting up a community larder at one of our centres, and together with our partners we created the OX4 Food Crew to address food inequality in our area during the pandemic and beyond.

www.ark-t.org

Waste2Taste

Waste2Taste is a Community Interest Company founded in 2017 by Sandra and Marie based on their shared love of food, passion for community and respect for humanity Our vision is to continue to build a vibrant, healthy and sustainable food culture, committed to food waste, packaging cuts and reducing food insecurity in Oxford. Food with a conscience, fighting climate change by reducing food waste. Our ‘Waste2Taste’ café uses food surplus as its main source of ingredients. Waste2Taste also run ‘cooking for health and wellbeing courses’ from the community cafe, for a range of groups such as parents and homeless/vulnerably housed people.

https://www.waste2taste.co.uk/

Flo’s:

Flo’s the Place in the Park is a new community benefit hub based in Florence Park, East Oxford. A community owned and run project, Flo’s has given new life to a decommissioned children’s centre and now runs many different activities and services to help the community meet, eat, work and play. At Flo’s can you find a cafe, childcare nature nursery, the NHS community midwives, a plastic free refill shop, and spaces to hire. We also run several community impact programmes with other partners in the area and are supporting the incubation of new diversity led social enterprises. Our focus is on families, food, health and nature and we are always developing and responding to changing community needs. 

www.flosoxford.org.uk

Damascus Rose Kitchen

The Syrian Sisters are a community group that supports refugee women living in East Oxford. The group is establishing the Damascus Rose Kitchen CIC, cooking delicious Syrian foods for catered events, wholesale and evening BBQs in Florence Park. Their aim is to share their culture and provide employment and training opportunities for refugee women. 

www.damascusrosekitchen1.com

With a massive thank you to support received from: National Lottery Community Fund, Oxford Community Foundation, Private Donors, Good Food Oxford and Oxford Food Hub

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