Your Local Pantry
The Vale PCN is the process of setting up a ‘Your Local Pantry’ – which will be the first rural food pantry under their scheme.
The plan is for a retail shop and storage facility to be based initially at Stour Connect in Sturminster Newton
The Pantry is a food co-operative and will serve the North Dorset area, setting up the main hub in Sturminster Newton with the aim of providing deliveries to surrounding areas fairly soon and eventually opening outposts in Gillingham, Shaftesbury and Blandford.
Pantries go beyond the food bank model which focus on helping those already in crisis and aim to create a sustainable and long-term solution to food poverty. Members pay a small weekly fee, typically £3.50, for which they can choose at least ten items of food each week, worth up to £15+ depending upon food choices made weekly.
The food supply will mainly be through the national charity Fare Share, who collect surplus stock from supermarkets and then redistribute it to the Pantry and other community groups. In addition, food supply will hopefully come from donations from local producers, suppliers, shops, farmers, allotment holders etc. We hope to be able to supply The Vale Pantry with local fruit and vegetables grown in the community garden recently set up at Abbey View Medical Centre - a great example of one community group helping another.
The Pantry is not just about food poverty – it will offer volunteering opportunities and will employ a manager.