Communities in Rother get together to cook, learn and share

Communities in Rother get together to cook, learn and share

Community Supporters is an environmental education charity based in Rother, a coastal town in East Sussex. They work within their community to provide education about the natural environment and how to protect and conserve it. This year, Cook and Share has been an opportunity to run sessions around food waste and making the most of extra produce.

We spoke to Lindsay, founder and CEO of Community Supporters, to find out how cooking can support wider education and be a connector across communities.

“We teach about the environment, but food is a huge part of that. We look at food sustainability and food waste, and of course pumpkins are a massive food waste item every year.” After their community allotment donated lots of leftover pumpkins, Lindsay and her colleagues ran a session for children under five and their families where they made pumpkin soup and discussed other ways to use up the Halloween gourd.


“We shared recipe cards for what you can do with them, like using leftover soup as a base for a bolognaise sauce.”


Children in attendance had fun carving the pumpkins and chopping up vegetables together, and for many it was their first opportunity to get involved in cooking. “We invited children from the local nursery, who don’t have the facilities to run these activities. Now we’re wondering how to extend this opportunity to the whole family rather than just the child at nursery.”

Not only have the children enjoyed getting involved, but their parents’ have benefitted too. “Their confidence in letting children try out cooking has grown through seeing them use safety knives and enjoy it. Providing a safe environment means they can see the benefits first-hand without worry.”

As well as practical cooking skills, Community Supporters incorporate plenty of cross-curriculum learning too. Measuring and portioning is a great way to learn about numbers and counting, whilst seeing what’s left over means discussing the environment and sustainability. “Food is one of the constants for us because we can garden, go outside and cook, we do beach school sessions and it all ties together with things like nature and litter-picking.”

At the end of the session, all the children tried the pumpkin soup. “We had some children with additional needs and some with food insecurity, but all of them eventually tried the soup even if they didn’t like it. We didn’t pressure them to try it but whilst the food was cooking they played together and made friends so peer pressure probably helped!”

The team at Community Supporters will continue to run weekly sessions up until December, and in future will make use of Cook and Share’s Soup Chooser resource as well as exploring more food waste recipes like one for Veg Peeling Crisps. “Cook and Share is a good way to advertise our events and get hold of extra resources. It’s an easy way to get the word out there – people seem to know about it.”

Find out more about Community Supporters here.

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