RAU teams up to help feed the local community

The Royal Agricultural University (RAU) has joined the Feeding the 5,000 project to help provide homecooked, healthy meals to those in need during the Coronavirus crisis.

The RAU campus is currently only open to students in residence, mainly international students, and essential workers. In line with PHE advice, and in common with most UK universities, face-to-face teaching has been suspended, with teaching and assessments being delivered online after the Easter break.

With reduced numbers of staff and students on site, the University is not needing to provide its usual catering service and this led Ryan Hanson, Head of Catering and Retail at the RAU, to develop a project for preparing meals for staff at work or students in residence to buy at reduced costs and take home or freeze.

He said: “We were keen to extend this to the local community, but didn’t have the distribution means. After speaking to the district and county councils and putting out a call on a community Facebook page, I was approached by The Long Table about the Feeding the 5,000 project.”

The Feeding the 5,000 project is led by The Long Table, a community based kitchen and restaurant in Brimscombe, and supported by the Diocese of Gloucester.

Ryan continues: “While distribution was less of a problem for them, having access to additional catering facilities was. So together we were both ideally placed to help each other.”

Ryan and his dedicated catering team will be cooking 1,200 meals. The meals, such as sausage casserole and veggie pesto pasta, will be packaged up, labelled (including allergens) and frozen ready for distribution to the Cirencester community.

“Food and people lie at the heart of the RAU’s activities and we’re proud to be able to do our part in feeding the nation in these challenging times, said Ryan. ”This is a fantastic example of local organisations and business coming together at a time of crisis to make a difference in the community.”

Creed Foodservice, whom the RAU and The Long Table already have strong links with, are also involved and will be providing the ingredients to produce the meals.

Tom Herbert, Founder of The Long Table, said: “We are pleased to be working with the RAU and look forward to sharing their meals with people across the county as we improve access to real food.”

For those wanting to place meal orders with The Long Table they should email [email protected] or call 01285 323851.