From fighting food waste with beer to helping the homeless with cake, there's plenty of ways to chip in
Rough sleeping is escalating, the mental health epidemic is soaring and the threat of climate change is ever increasing. In the midst of so many causes, it can be easy to feel helpless: what to do first?
Well, in the words of Tesco, ‘every little helps’. And fortunately there are several ways you can do good simply by eating and drinking (even cooking if you’re that way inclined).
Spanning cafés to cooking schools, bakeries to bars, here are ten ways to help save the world in Manchester…
Make your cuppas count with Worker Bee, which donates a percentage of all wholesale sales to We Love MCR and Forever Manchester: charities that support local community projects. Available to both cafés and individual customers, its range includes five speciality coffees and two teas inspired by the city’s industrial heritage. After a boozier kind of brew? Then visit Seven Bro7hers, who’ve teamed up with Kellogg's to use cereal that would otherwise be wasted in their craft beer. If you needed more excuse for a pint…
HEAD DOWN T'PUB
Not only does the Eagle & Child serve proper pub grub, it also has a big conscience. Through a scheme called Eat Pennines, this popular watering hole has supported over 100 unemployed and disadvantaged young people by recruiting and training them in hospitality and horticulture. It’s also sustainably-minded, composting and recycling where possible, and is a base for Incredible Edible Ramsbottom.
‘DONATE’ AND GET SUSPENDED
Founded in 2015 by Manchester graduate Caroline Stevenson, the Foodinate concept is simple but powerful: order a Foodinate-branded dish from a participating restaurant and a meal will in turn be donated to someone in need. Just out for a drink? Several coffee shops now offer the chance to buy a ‘suspended’ coffee for someone who needs it. Finally, The Hip Hop Chip Shop is offering to donate a meal to the homeless in return for £9 towards its new Ancoats chippy.
REDUCE REOFFENDING IN A CAFE
It may look like another independent coffee shop, but the majority of The Mess’ staff have been in prison or rehab: by offering them training and support, this award-winning café helps them make a fresh start that would otherwise be hard to find. The Clink’s new Manchester café also helps recent prisoners, as well as young adults from homelessness charity Centrepoint, while its popular Cheshire restaurant employs inmates at HMP Styal.
When you order from Good Mood Food, not only can you expect fresh ethical buffets using locally-sourced produce but - since it’s a catering social enterprise in partnership with Manchester Mind - all profits go towards providing vital mental health services, which are increasingly under pressure. Also keep an eye on Open Kitchen MCR, the new waste food enterprise from Real Junk Food Manchester.
CURRY (NOT) IN A HURRY
If six courses of Asian food sounds like your Shangri La, you’re in luck: Pippa Middlehurst will be serving just that at Maggie’s #kitchentableday on Saturday 3 November. The winner of Britain’s Best Home Cook, she cooks a particularly mean Massaman curry, and you can BYOB. What’s more, all proceeds from the event will be donated to the Maggie’s charity, which offers support to those affected by cancer.
Home to a hydroponics unit, fruit, veg and over 100,000 honeybees, The Printworks’ rooftop garden is a very different hive of activity to the one below, of neon signs and multiplex cinemas. Produce is often sold on behalf of charity, and you’ll soon be able to buy honey at Manchester Cathedral, proceeds of which will go towards its charity Volition. There’s still chance to adopt a bee too.
GET ON THE PANS
Fancy yourself a pretty decent cook? Or want to upskill your kitchen time? Fortunately, you can do both - and do some good while you’re at it. Cracking Good Food is both a cookery school and social enterprise that aims to make affordable, sustainable & healthier food for all - offering everything from urban foraging classes to community outreach - while Foodcycle serves up nutritious meals using food that would otherwise go to waste, and is always looking for volunteers to help at its PAYF meals. Finally, homeless charity Centrepoint is after ‘souper troupers’ to join its Big Broth campaign.
Warm cinnamon rolls, salted caramel and popcorn brownies and lemon and blueberry loaves…just some of the delights to be found at Lekker Vegan Bakery. Popping up at makers’ markets citywide, these treats are all the sweeter considering 10% of sales go to charity. Turns out scoffing cake is a virtue, not a vice (well, kind of…)