Indie Oxford Interview: Waste2Taste
This week we catch up with Sandra & Marie, the owners of Waste2Taste in east Oxford. They are a fabulous team, made up of two friends, who in March 2017 decided to put together all their food knowledge and skills to show the world that magic can be made with surplus food, creating fantastic healthy and super tasty dishes! During the pandemic they have been supported the most vulnerable in the east Oxford community. Here’s their story. >>
Tell me about Waste2Taste and how it began.
We started Waste2Taste almost 3 years ago due to our shared passion and commitment to reducing food waste and food poverty. We are a social enterprise with 3 strands to our model – catering, a community café and providing workshops for homeless and vulnerably housed adults.
Where does your passion for social action come from?
We both have worked in the voluntary sector for many years and have always worked towards and supported community action. We believe bringing our community together leads to better outcomes for all of us.
How important is it to you to be able to give something back to your community?
Hugely important, we all benefit from having a community, knowing we are a part of it, that we support it and it supports us.
How has Covid affected your business & your suppliers?
It was dramatic, we lost 100% of our catering income due to Covid-19. Within days all of our event catering bookings were cancelled and our beloved café closed. We had to adapt our model by reaching out to other community organisations.
Tell us about the OX4 Free Food Crew.
This is a partnership set up in response to Covid-19 to alleviate food poverty during these difficult times. We have joined forces with Ark T, Flo’s – The Place In The Park and Oxford Hub. Our organisations are passionate about ensuring that those most in need at this time can receive the warmth, love and comfort which comes from healthy home cooked food.
Together we are stronger.
How has collaborating with the other organisations in the Food Crew helped support you through the pandemic?
Our reach has been much greater by this amazing partnership. Together we are stronger.
Now that the café has reopened, what can people expect?
People can expect a SAFE, warm and welcoming space where all are welcome. The food is heathy, ethical and freshly cooked every day, using high quality food surplus. We have a wonderful safe and inviting garden for families to enjoy and a fantastic exhibition by Phillipa James.
Tell me about the Kindness Menu.
The kindness Menu allows you to buy for someone else to enjoy another time. Be it a coffee or a meal, we will add the item to our board and keep it until someone who needs it pops in. It is already proving very popular both in terms of giving and receiving.
What are your plans for the rest of 2020 and into 2021?
SURVIVING! Our first priority is to continue with the OX4 Free Food Crew. There is still a massive and growing need for food assistance and we aim to increase our reach to people who need it most.
During half term, Sandra & Marie have been making free meals for kids which can be collected from Ark T on Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday. The cafe is open Tuesday 10 – 1.30, Wednesday 9 – 1.30 and Thursday 10 – 1.30 at Ark T, Crowell Road, behind the Templars Square multi storey car park.