A Tasty Idea

Sep 22nd, 2014
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  1. I have a cunning plan... Well two plans. Well lots of plans but here are two of 'em.
  2. Gratis.
  4. I: Community Cafés >> Canteens >> Kitchens
  5. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
  7. These would be locally supported, locally run co-operatives serving free food... for a profit!
  8. And dedicated to creating and rebuilding a sense of Community in these fragmented individualistic
  9. times.
  11. How can that be?
  12. ++++++++++++++++
  14. A little lesson from history
  15. ============================
  17. Once upon a time I had a job and a hobby: part of that involved hosting a cheap event for
  18. students. We crashed them overnight (illegally) and gave them breakfast for free as part of
  19. the entrance fee.
  21. However we invited them to make a contribution IF THEY COULD AFFORD IT.
  22. The facilities were pretty primitive: a tea urn; a big commercial tin of instant coffee; a
  23. breadboard and knife; big box of teabags; cheap end of the day bread from a local baker and
  24. the biggest pot of jam I have ever seen. We made £20 profit after the first day!
  25. We invested in a big pot of marmalade and upgraded to butter and croissants.
  26. We made £50 pounds!
  28. There after the tea fund was a regular part of the event and paid for a better program;
  29. better guests of honour.
  32. Roll on a few years.
  34. Occupy LSX had much the same thing -only on a grander scale- a free canteen operating outside
  35. St Pauls. For a brief time we fed the homeless; the abandoned; the casual city gent;...
  36. in a true loaves-and-fishes style miracle. Until the Moneyleders sent in the Romans and the
  37. Church Patriarchs turned their back on the Gospel and re-embraced Mammon.
  38. But we all knew that they would do that anyway.
  40. So free food for a profit? WTF! I hear you say. Simples!
  42. There would be no fixed price. Merely the polite request for a donation in line with the abilty
  43. to pay and the nominal price of the meal up on a chalk board based on the costs involved in its
  44. making: wages; rent; food costs; etc. A truly British sense of justice would induce those with
  45. lots of money to pay over the odds, those on a minimal income to pay the nominal cost and those
  46. with none: Nothing!
  48. Given the choice also paying in labour, food donations, food grown on allotments; labour in
  49. producing food grown on allotments; local community projects...
  51. Getting started:
  53. Local co-operatives, community and commensial political organisations would find small
  54. catering establishments: cafés; gastro-pubs; restaurants;... gone to the wall as the downturn
  55. deepens for the 99%.
  57. Ideally the movement would get local support from the local council; central government; private
  58. benefactors. Credit Unions could offer loans; pressure on government for tax breaks; mentoring
  59. by charities & trade unions;... all to the end of buying said properties; fixing them up; hiring
  60. the catering staff; requesting food donations; advertising; educating and, most of all,
  61. re-engaging the politically ostracised.
  63. Or we could always (big breath) nationalise these empty holes on the high street for the good of
  64. the state!
  66. In more distant locations we could also look to utilising the spare catering capacity of local
  67. schools to provide a free/ cheap evening meal; vastly superior to a deep fried takeaway.
  68. The remaining workplace canteens could also be co-opted as a local resource.
  70. In addition to improving the nutrition of the nation, the aim is to (re) establish the idea of
  71. communal dining. With its vast efficiencies and benefits of scale to be had over the mountains
  72. of wasted food; generated by private dining/ mass consumption and poor food hygiene.
  74. Community Cafes and Canteens would also aim to teach the elements of thrifty cooking; food hygiene
  75. and the value of locally sourced, seasonal foods. They would act to reinstal a community spirit
  76. that dates back to our neolithic ancestors gathered around the cook-fire with a stew of the
  77. day's foraging and hunting.
  79. Only with more safety regulations. And wifi.
  81. The Community Ktchen would provide a 'meals on wheels service' to the housebound and,
  82. perhaps, commercially!
  84. Finally the Canteen would act in an organic fashion to help those wishing to start up another
  85. Community Café in their locale.
  87. (Perhaps even -sotto voce- a chain of Brown Cafes. With a sideline in educating responsible drug use
  88. and bringing a profit to the people; instead of international crime and the black economy.
  89. Well us generation flower-powers -that didn't sell out to The Man- can always hope. Isn't it time after
  90. nearly fifty years to "free the weed" and those victimless prisoners of the War against drugs?)
  92. Staff would be paid the National Living Wage. Topped up pro-rata by profits and position as decided by
  93. the local co-operative. Hopefully on a consensual and horizontal basis.
  95. Staff would be trained in food hygiene; catering skills and encouraged to set up more Cafes; Canteens;
  96. Kitchens. Spreading the network further still.
  98. II/ Legislation
  99. +++++++++++++++
  101. Three ideas here:
  103. II.i A new date stamp for food
  104. ==============================
  106. We already have a "Use By Date and a "Sell By Date." This legislation would introduce a third:
  107. "Donate By Date" or make the "sell by" a "Donate by" by fiat.
  109. All food would have this date. Either date stamped on the packaging or as part and parcel for type of
  110. fresh food: vegetables, meat, delicatessen items: cooked meats; etc. This date would be one day before
  111. the food has to be "Used by" according to current food hygiene regulations.
  113. Such food would *have* to be donated to a local charity/ food bank/ Community Canteen. Any intact food
  114. waste found dumped by retailers or manufacturers would be identified by state inspectors (jobs) and
  115. taxed accordingly. (See below) Similarly horse-burgers found to be contaminated with beef would also
  116. be taxed or, rather, criminally fined as needless waste. This fine would spread back down the food
  117. chain to a massive penalty on the globalised manufacturer: pro rata on their counterfeiting profits.
  119. II.ii Food Hygiene Legislation
  120. ==============================
  122. When one is below the bread line and waiting for the final reductions on bread, one can't but help
  123. notice that ---in our local Tesco at least--- one to two tons of bread is literally thrown away every
  124. week.
  125. On one occasion (I am reliably informed) and on one day some £400 worth of wholesome food sent to the
  126. incinerators. I have seen, with my own eyes: food dumped before it even gets to the shelves.
  128. Similarly the contents of various food displays is similarly instantly written off "Unfit for
  129. human consumption." When, quite frankly, it is not! I would estimate that our local Tesco throws away
  130. enough food to feed between twenty to fifty people a day.
  131. More if it were turned into soup.
  132. Perhaps double that on a bad day and goodness only knows what happens behind the scenes.
  135. However for once Tesco's is not to blame. It's the food regulations.
  137. Obviously the current food hygiene regulations have to be changed. If people are literally starving to
  138. death: such waste is not only incomprehensible, it is also immoral. To deal with the fresh food that
  139. is currently thrown away I would suggest that it be sent or collected by a registered Community Canteen.
  141. The bread IMHO is probably still fit. Even the day after. But could be served up toasted as croutons or
  142. turned into crumbs and baked with vegetables or any one of thousands of recipes utilising 'stale' bread
  143. that our mothers or grandmothers used during the second world war. Similarly all the fresh foods could
  144. be at least turned into soups or incorporated into stews.
  146. "Waste not want not" served the country during WWII.
  148. It should serve us in the current war declared by this government on the poor; the weak and the
  149. vulnerable.
  151. II.iii Food Tax
  152. ===============
  154. No not a Tax on food but a Tax on waste food. Phew!
  156. As the _stick_ the legislation I propose would tax wasted food at all levels of the food chain.
  157. Even down to the consumer: "pound for 0.45359237 kg."
  159. The mechanisms for this, at a domestic level, will be tricky and easily circumvented by using a compost
  160. heap.
  162. But then the food is not wasted ;) Unlike the dozens of pink plastic bags skipped by Tescos and other
  163. supermarkets every night.
  165. The waste further down the food chain would be even more strictly monitored.
  167. The legislation would also provide a _carrot_ : a tax break of one penny per pound. Provided that the
  168. waste food is donated and delivered to a local Community Canteen where it could be turned into the basis
  169. of an evening meal. Added to the soup pot or crafted into a breakfast fit for heroes.
  170. Like those back in 1945.
  172. CODA
  173. ++++
  175. In order to survive the coming meltdown (literally) and in order to support the overburden of population
  176. already in the country; we can no longer afford to waste any food whatsoever.
  178. And, I fear, the situation will only get worse. Koyanisquatsi.
  180. If we wish to see in 2045 without food riots; mass starvation; water wars; etc. we will have to radically
  181. change.
  183. The Elite does not care, they think they will be safe in their gated Castles. Or their tropical island
  184. tax havens. Hello! Seven metres sea rise you idiots. Seventy if Antarctica cuts loose in a hurry.
  186. Time for a peasants revolt... But we really must get ourselves Organised.
  188. I hope that the above will help.
  190. Brother B!0!F!
  192. cc The Green Movement The Common Weal
  193. Please spread the word. Hope is our Duty!
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