University cooking project bridges generations and saves food waste

A University community project has signed up older residents in Canterbury to teach local school pupils how to cook to the benefit of both.

EcoFeast was started by third-year Psychology student Sophia Gagliardi, who joined Enactus Kent, a student-led community action group.

Now pupils at St Anselm’s Catholic School in Old Dover Road, Canterbury, are finishing the first pilot project where they’ve been taught how to cook, using excess food from the University’ foodstore and shops in Canterbury.

The project aims to tackle three issues: food waste, some young people’s inability to cook, and isolation among the elderly population. It also aims to help young people benefit from the older generation’s cooking and baking knowledge.

Older people are at the highest risk of loneliness because of their potential loss of family, friends, mobility or income, according to Age UK. The charity runs its own befriending scheme to help combat loneliness.

It will be Enactus’ second project in Canterbury. Their first local initiative, MyStreets, helps turn previously homeless people into tour guides to help re-integrate them within society while giving tourists a unique experience of the city.

EcoFeast was supported by Kent Innovation and Enterprise (KIE).