Food For Life Get Togethers
Launching in 2019, the Get Togethers was a four-year National Lottery Community Fund programme led by a team within Soil Assocation's Food for Life. With five national partners and 12 Local partners across the UK. The aim was to bring people from all generations and backgrounds together through growing, cooking, and sharing good food. When the pandemic changed life as we knew it, the programme had to adapt to a new way of working. This led to a wealth of online sessions, networking and connecting people across the UK through their shared love of growing and cooking food.
There are still many challenges that face us every day and community leaders are often at the forefront of supporting those who need it the very most, and the Get Togethers programme was there to support them.
From nurturing the grassroots community good food champions through our My Food Community leadership programme, to skills sharing with the Local Partner organisations, to our joint mission and close collaboration with the National Partners, the learnings and insights gained throughout the programme have been invaluable.
My Food Community
My Food Community is an accelerated leadership programme for community organisers that was launched by the Get Togethers in September 2021. To date, the MFC programme has had two cohorts in 2021 and 2022, where 114 future Good Food Leaders were recruited and trained from all around the UK. The programme has delivered 138 hours of training in total and awarded more than £50,000 in Leadership Action Grants for innovative solutions to local food issues.
MFC is set to run a third cohort in the autumn 2023, as the leadership programme develops beyond the Get Togethers to become part of the Soil Association's ambitions for building Good Food Ambassadors through empowerment and support.
Throughout the Get Togethers programme a rich and diverse network of several thousand individuals, community, third sector groups, social enterprises, local authority and other government workers came together around a broad vision of growing, cooking and sharing good food.
Building on this, the Get Togethers launched a national Network Event series. This set out to explore using the power of networks to promote community-scale good food citizenship, as well as facilitate greater peer-to-peer connections both locally and nationally.
Campaigns – Plant & Share / Cook & Share
With an overarching goal of unifying people across various backgrounds, ages and demographics through getting together around cooking and growing good food, the two campaigns, Plant & Share and Cook &Share were the perfect tool for mass mobilisation and connection around food based activities.
Both Cook & Share and Plant & Share will continue beyond the Get Togethers programme head to the campaign pages for more details.
Evalution and Impacts of the Programme
Whilst many of the activities through the Get Togethers will continue beyond the length of the initial four year period, such as My Food Community leaders programme, network events, and the Plant and Share and Cook and Share Campaigns, the four years of the programme were closely evaluated and research conducted by academic partners, University of West of England (UWE) and Coventry University.
All published reports can be found here which include the End of programme summary report and more in depth academic findings of My Food community, networks and partnerships and the campaigns.