WHY WE DO THIS
Like many of you reading this we have rarely experienced real hunger let alone been starving even though we use that word so often. We may have gone without food for a period of time, but we have always known that the next meal will come at some stage in the not too distant future. In addition to our personal needs, we have never had to worry about feeding our children and ensuring they have the right nutrition. However, for a shockingly large number of people in our country having enough food is not an every day reality and having a nutritious meal is a rarity.
We believe that everyone, regardless of his or her economic circumstances, should have access to a balanced and nutritious diet and that is why we have set up The Country Food Trust.
In 2016 The Joseph Rowntree Foundation estimated that 14 million people in the UK are living in poverty and have to decide between the basic necessities such as food, clothing and heating. We decided we should tackle one element of this and focus on food.
In order to do that we set about creating a community of stakeholders to produce and distribute, delicious, nutritious and balanced meals from countryside produce. The meals are given free to those people living in poverty and sold to those people who appreciate country food in order to help us feed more people.
Our aim is to feed one million people in food poverty in our first five years.
WHAT WE DO
In simple terms, we are a charity food producer making top quality protein based food that we donate to charities who feed people in need. The charity is funded by individuals, companies, shoots, trusts and other charitable organisations. See how you can help.
We started by speaking to charities that told us they get a lot of nutritionally low value food – but very little meat and they had little chilling or freezer capacity. We knew there were affordable, plentiful and nutritional meat sources available which we could turn into meals and we worked with charities on the product design.
Currently we have two products, The Country Casserole, a nutritious and warming pheasant casserole and The Country Curry, a mildly spicy pheasant curry.
In our first year we produced 20,408 meals and since inception we have produced over 130,00 meals. These meals are donated to those in food poverty either directly to people in need, charities who feed people in need or through amazing charities like FareShare who distribute food nationwide to other charities. Please see our page on our recipient charities.
We wanted to increase our financial sustainability, so, we sell our meals on the basis that for every meal purchased another will be distributed to someone in poverty. The charity is not for profit so all money raised from selling our produce goes back to feeding more people in need. Currently we sell to supporters, online and are looking at farm shops. We also sell or aim to sell at events such as Fairs, Country Shows and Music events.
WHAT WE PRODUCE
We manufacture our food in a retort pouch so it can be stored for a year without chilling. It also means that as a small charity we can manage the food without being at the mercy of expiry dates if fresh. This is also helps the charities which distribute the meals for us. Retorting is pressure cooking and involves no additional ingredients to ensure a longer life of the food.
Whilst we are currently using pheasant and we are developing a vegetarian option, and are looking at other proteins such as layers chickens or mutton. They are nutritious, low in cholesterol and high in vitamins. We currently produce two meals in 300g pouches that contain 90g of meat, which is an ideal meal for one especially when added to potatoes, rice and vegetables – see our chef Tim Maddams’ serving suggestions.
WHO WE DELIVER TO
As well as delivering to individual charities we also deliver a lot of our food through FareShare, an amazing national charity. They save good food destined for waste and send it to charities and community groups who transform it into nutritious meals for vulnerable people. Currently FareShare distribute to over 6,000 underlying charities and provided 28.6 million meals to vulnerable people last year. See FareShare.
We also delivered to the following Charities
Please contact us if you would like us to donate food to a charity of your choice. If you are a charity and would like us to support you please fill in our Charity Nomination Form.
When It Happened
The first meeting took place in London in November and was attended by those who would go on to form the charity and consultants from the food business.
A generous private donor funded the project and Tim Woodward, the first CEO, was appointed in January with the charity being registered in July. Our first test meal, a pheasant casserole, was produced in November.
In February we took receipt of 2,000 pouches of food from the factory and delivered them to FareShare in Bristol. We started to feed people in need just 14 months from inception of the idea. During the year we produced over 20,408 meals and delivered to a wider range of charities from Newcastle to Bristol to London. We also structured the charity, raised funds, wrote newsletters, found experts to guide us and added trustees and ambassadors to spread the word. Shelagh joined in November as our administrator.
We held our first fund raising event at Syon House and raised over £200,000. Tim Maddams joined as our chef, revised our initial offering and created the partridge curry, our second product. We ran a stand at the Game Fair at Hatfield House. Ian Botham put us on the front page of The Sunday Times in a media run that ended up with the charity being able to explain what it did on BBC TV. The charity has started to produce and distribute the 125,000 meals planned for the year.
WHAT WE DON’T DO
The aim of the charity is simply to feed as many of the 14 million people who live in poverty in the UK as possible with something that is protein rich, delicious and nutritious.
WE DO NOT
– Lobby on the subject of poverty or attempt to deal with the more complex issues surrounding people who find themselves in need.
– Lobby for or against shooting. It is a legal sport and there are plenty of people lobbying both ways on the subject. We respect there are different views.
– Ignore the subject of lead in game meat – see our lead policy
– Deliver our food to charities that deal with vulnerable groups such as children, pregnant women and women trying for a baby.
Please click here to see our Lead Policy