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  • Writer's pictureThe Gaudie

When food makes a difference: Food Not Bombs Aberdeen

by Rory Buccheri

FNB volunteers setting up. Photo courtesy of the author.

“After all, that’s what it’s all about, right? Creating solidarity through sharing food.”

Food Not Bombs is a collective aimed to create system change by shifting the focus on food. They champion conversations on key topics such as food poverty, food waste, and sustainability.

Their mission is to cook ‘for anyone who is hungry, be they rich or poor, stoned or sober’, as their manifesto reads.

Volunteers from the Aberdeen branch regularly come together to cook warm, homemade meals to share with whoever comes to their stall.

All the food is vegan and is served by the volunteers with a smile, whether in the sun or in the rain.

Today’s stall at Castlegate was proof of their relentless commitment, and of the key community aspect that Food Not Bombs champions.

The Gaudie spoke to the founder of the Aberdeen branch, Lee Matthews, who has set up the Aberdeen branch of the international collective after moving to Aberdeen in the summer of 2020.

“It started with zoom meetings, hoping people would come along”, they said. “You can’t do this thing alone – it’s community-based, people-based. And soon we realised lots of amazing people were keen.”

Food served: from leek and potato soup to fresh hummus and cake. Photos courtesy of the author.

Their first event was held at the Palestine rally outside of Marischal College, where FNB was serving hot food and listening to people willing to get involved and share their ideas.

Matthews said the community outreach was “impressive” from the very beginning. “There was a snowball effect, with more and more people joining. Even after a short hiatus, everyone was keen on coming back.”

“After all, that’s what it’s all about, right? Creating solidarity through sharing food.”

We spoke to Marina Lune, who was involved in the organisational aspect from the very beginning. Lune commented on the presence of Food Not Bombs in Aberdeen, and on community outreach.

Lee Matthews and Marina Lune, the organisers behind FNB.

“People are not used to seeing people offering free food. Especially warm, home-cooked meals.”

“I think it’s really important to change people’s minds about sharing food”, Lune said. This is a mantra that agrees with the roots of the collective.

“In Food Not Bombs”, she explained, “the ‘not bombs’ part of the title is relevant today more than ever.”

The foundational idea of FNB encourages shifting the discourse on abandoning militaristic and warfare investments to invest in people, on all those that go hungry every year and cannot afford a warm meal.

This is when food can really make an impact: “It’s something that we all believe in…Something that makes you feel there is a support network”.

Lune disclosed that FNB is in touch with the Quakers to access kitchen space, in order to create events centred around different cuisines from refugees in Aberdeen.

“It’s about re-creating that experience of communal eating. This counts for many people who moved to Aberdeen for many reasons. You know, you often miss food from your home.”

At the Castlegate stand today, FNB was providing period products and essentials, proving their community commitment goes beyond simply sharing food.

If you are passionate about joining these amazing individuals putting on pots and pans in the middle of Castlegate to offer warm food and smiles to all people who approach, there are many ways you can get involved.

If you want to volunteer, comment on the Facebook page and make your interest known! There is no regular commitment – just show up, and help whenever you can to cook or set up.

You can also donate to their Paypal to help them continue with their work.


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