Graham Robinson: Feeding the Needy
President Keith & Graham
We were delighted to hear from Graham Robinson from the Belfast Rotary Club, who has extensive experience in the agricultural industry during his lifetime, with respect to their Club’s latest exciting programme.
After Covid-19, Graham began by noting how a lot of Clubs have come up with some great projects.  In thinking about what his Club might address, he decided to address the issue of accessing nutritional vegetables that could be then shared with food banks in order to help provide them to those in need.
Graham noted that they managed to find a supplier who was in a position to donate product that was near or past its use by date to organisations that needed it. This also included having access to unsaleable Easter Eggs at that time.
Rather than focus on large organisations, the Club instead identified a number of smaller local suppliers who had very cheap vegetables available that they could use including various food options that were useful and nutritious.
The project’s mission was to supply nutritional food at no cost. At this time they are closing in on supplying 100 toms to those in need. 
Graham noted that they were very impressed with especially Foodbank Canterbury who had successfully achieved low operating costs.
The aim of their approach, shared Graham, is to set up standardised boxes of product that has 12 staple ingredients that can feed a family for 2 weeks.  These will then be distributed through existing networks to over a hundred organisations which include a wide range of often quite small groups who know their local communities and how best to serve them.
“We will be staring this shortly”, noted Graham, “as a pilot before full release.”
On considering where Rotary might fit, Graham noted that at Belfast they are currently identifying growers of vegetables they can collect product from including not only staple food but also special products as these become available.  At this stage they are gathering 3-4 tons of food a week and are looking at how best to deliver vegetables to targeted areas.
“We are looking for other Clubs who might be interested in coming on board”, suggested Graham, “so we can build how we might grow and develop this endeavour targeting families who are facing challenging times in putting food on their tables.”
We thanked Graham for sharing this fascinating approach to helping provide nutritious food to those in need and expressed an interest in looking at how we can support them in their endeavours going forward.