About the Local Pantries
A Local Pantry is a community-run project that buys or collects surplus food to prevent it going to waste, and then makes it available to their members for a weekly fee, normally £3.50 to £5.
As the food is ‘surplus’, due to a seasonal glut or change in branding for example, the Local Pantry does not know what it will be offered, so members will have a ‘mystery parcel’ each week.
The number of items varies and usually, but not always, includes fresh, chilled and ambient (tinned or dried) foods. A typical week could include fruit and vegetables, eggs, and dairy or non-dairy drinks, pasta, cereals, and tinned foods. There are sometimes ready meals and sweet treats.
The value of the food also varies but always exceeds the membership fee, sometimes considerably.
Why are there Local Pantries?
Over three million tonnes of good food is wasted in the food industry supply chain every year. When food waste goes to landfill it generates CO2 emissions which contribute to climate change. At the same time, millions of people are struggling to afford to eat.
By working in partnership with organisations like surplus food charity FareShare South West, local retailers and allotment groups, the Council and the Local Pantries hope to tackle these three issues.
What to expect
A Local Pantry is a membership scheme. The only criterion for membership is living within 15-minutes of the Local Pantry, ideally by walking or by bike. This is mainly for food safety reasons but it also means members have the opportunity to meet and get to know others from their local area. On week one members are given a tote and chiller bag, which they need to bring each week. If running late or not able to collect, it is important members let the team know, so food is not wasted.
As well as food, the Local Pantries may offer social activities, training opportunities, a café, chance to talk with specialist agencies such as Citizen’s Advice. Each Local Pantry will develop its offer in response to the interests of its members and what it is able to run or host.
As places are limited each Local Pantry also has a waiting list and will get in touch when a space becomes available. Members can leave at any time and normally join for three-six months – sometimes more and sometimes less.
Allergies and special diets can often be supported so members should advise of these as well as checking the food items themselves.
By joining a Local Pantry you’re saving perfectly good food from going to waste, which is good for the planet and you’re saving money too.
Below you will find information and contact details for each Local Pantry in Somerset. If you would like to become a member, make food or financial donations or volunteer at any of the existing Local Pantries please get in touch directly.
If interested in having a Local Pantry or you can support more than one Local Pantry, please contact the project manager using the details below. Support to set up and run a Local Pantry is available.
Mobile: 07557 481418
Local Pantry Details
Victoria Park Local Pantry (Bridgwater)
Operates – Tuesday afternoon
Victoria Park Community Centre, TA6 7AS
Highbridge and Burnham-on-Sea (HBoS) Local Pantry
Operates – Friday afternoon
Trowbridge Close Community Centre. TA9 3AZ
Chard Local Pantry
Operates – Friday afternoon
Chard Community Hub, TA20 1PH
Call or text: 07971 373831