Let’s Eat Glasgow, the food festival that tackles inequality, set for a return

Let’s Eat Glasgow, the food festival that tackles inequality, set for a return
The National, by Nan Spowart


The UK’s first major food festival aimed at tackling food inequality returns to Glasgow this weekend.


This year twice as many social enterprises will benefit from one of the city’s biggest food showcases.


The organisers – the not for profit Real Food, Real Folk co-operative of top Glasgow restaurants – are also doubling the number of vouchers for restaurant food at the event donated to social enterprises and community groups across the city.


The idea of Let’s Eat Glasgow! is to shine a spotlight on the fantastic food and drink grown, reared, fished and cooked in Scotland while raising money to help combat food inequality across the city.


The Finnieston-based festival is free to enter with the plates of food cooked by some of the city’s top restaurants priced from an accessible £5.


A significant portion of the 3.5 tonnes of ingredients, which altogether weigh the same as an African elephant or twice the weight of a teenage T-rex or Subaru Impreza, is being gifted in-kind or at a discounted rate by like-minded food and drink suppliers.


Any profits made by Let’s Eat Glasgow! will go towards Real Food, Real Folk’s work to address food inequality in the city.




The festival began after some of Glasgow’s best known restaurants came together to form Real Food, Real Folk.


Cail Bruich, Crabshakk, Guy’s Restaurant, Mother India, Ox and Finch, Stravaigin, The Gannet and Ubiquitous Chip all donated their time to serve food at the first festival last year which was a sell-out.


This year they are joined by eight guest restaurants – the Banana Leaf, Café Gandolfi, El Perro Negro, Eusebi Deli, Lychee Oriental, Martha’s, The Hanoi Bike Shop and Wee Guy’s. A host of celebrities and guest chefs are all also donating their time. In addition, the event this weekend will showcase nine innovative and exciting Glasgow-based social enterprises which have been given free stand space in the pop-up market.


Standing side by side with around 35 of the cream of West of Scotland’s food and drink producers, the social enterprises will raise awareness of their food-based projects and sell their produce to a commercial market so aiding their sustainability.


The participating social enterprises this year are Freedom Bakery, Shettleston Community Growing Project, Slow Food Glasgow, The East Ate/Bottle of Ginger, The Milk Café, Unity Enterprise’s Spoon Café, Urban Edge, Woodlands Community Garden and the Zero Waste Wise Project.



Real Food, Real Folk is also distributing 3,000 free restaurant food vouchers among the participating social enterprises and, working with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Improvement, a wide range of community groups across the city.


Colin Clydesdale, chairman of Real Food, Real Folk, explained: “We came together to create our not-for-profit co-operative Real Food, Real Folk because we wanted to be part of the growing movement of chefs across the world who are leaving the comfort of their kitchen to work with grassroots organisations helping improve access to good food.


“We knew we couldn’t shout about the great food we have in Glasgow and across the West of Scotland without trying to do something to help address the very real food inequality across our town.


“We are surrounded by great local produce yet we continue to be a long way from being a place where everyone has the choice and opportunity to eat well.


“We quickly discovered the wealth of really innovative and successful community projects working to improve access to good, local food here in Glasgow and designed Let’s Eat Glasgow! to raise money to help them.


“We hope everyone coming along to Let’s Eat Glasgow! takes the time to chat to the participating social enterprises, buy their produce and help drive the movement for change across the city.”




Social enterprises that took part last year have welcomed the return of the event.


“It was an excellent opportunity for us to get our message across to a broader audience in Glasgow,” said Angela Ireland, co-founder of The Milk Café. “We had a great time selling our products and chatting to everyone that came to the stall about our enterprise and the inspiring volunteers that make it what it is.”


The Milk Café helps empower and provide a safe, supportive environment where ethnic minority women on Glasgow south-side can receive employability support.


New this year is Woodlands Community Garden. It helps tackle food poverty through Woodlands Community free pop-up café which feeds around 70 people every Monday.


“Taking part in Let’s Eat Glasgow! will give Woodlands free pop-up cafe the opportunity to promote healthy eating, generate income to help the cafe become more sustainable and raise awareness about our food project,” said community development worker Irina Martin.




Real Food, Real Folk now also has a growing programme of activity throughout the year with chefs gifting their time to support local community groups through mentoring, skills training and volunteering.


The co-operative’s first big on-going project has been working with Urban Edge and Bridgeton’s The East Ate helping them create the new community growing hub and recreational space at Daldowie.


As well as rolling their sleeves up on site, they’ve introduced some of the social enterprise produce into their restaurants and helped The East Ate stage a series of community “pay what you feel” dinners in association with Glasgow NE Food-bank.


Coming full circle, The East Ate will launch their new Bottle of Ginger at Let’s Eat Glasgow! The “heritage ginger beer”, is botanically brewed with only natural, organic and Fairtrade ingredients in the East End of Glasgow.