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Castlemilk Food Solidarity Market

bakery with bread and pastry on display

Anti-austerity campaigners have set up a food solidarity market in Castlemilk.

Castlemilk Against Austerity, known as CAA, gathered at The Braes shopping centre to distribute food gathered by a local club of Celtic supporters.

Groceries for Families

The Braes was the scene where 80 bags of groceries were handed out to those in need recently, as part of the effort by CAA. The groceries were raised in a food drive organised by local Celtic supporters known as the Castlemilk Bhoys.

The event took place between 1pm and 4pm on a Saturday. It was targeted towards families who were in need of help, and yet were not eligible to go to a foodbank. The organisers described it as a food solidarity market.

The plans all began on the 1st of November, with team members pulling together to organise everything as fast as possible. The Castlemilk Bhoys were then able to coincide their drive with the Green Brigade initiative on the 4th of November.

It was not just food that was donated, but also toiletries and other essential items. These were donated by local people as well as businesses that were able to spare some things for the drive.

During the market, there were also some entertainments laid on to draw people down to participate. These included face painting for children, live music, and also poetry readings.

Donations Down

The drive came about when CAA started to struggle to find the people in need of help. They had received donations from residents and people with food jobs last year, but getting them to the right people was difficult. After all, those who are registered for foodbanks were not the intended recipients – so they had the task of finding people who are not written on any list.

Catherine Milligan said, “We came up with that idea because we were sick of people thinking we were a foodbank. We’re not a charity and we wanted to do it another way. We decided to do a Food Solidarity market, make up the bags equally and just pass them out to everybody in the community, even if they didn’t particularly need it, it encouraged them to pass it on to somebody who did. It's to take away the shame that people feel about having to ask for food, so that was a big thing for us.”

While the drive started with just 5 people, word quickly spread. There were 15 volunteers on the day helping to hand out bags, and some of them were even from outside of the local area.

A spokesman for Castlemilk Bhoys said: “One of the reasons for doing it was to build on the GB efforts but keep it local and pass to CAA, enabling non Celtic supporters in our community to have the opportunity to contribute towards the food drive. Some of our cash donations were passed directly to the GB in the day in the collection buckets so we were contributing to that cause also - it was their idea after all. We did contact them to inform them of our intentions.”

If you are a food graduate with a need to get some hands-on experience for your CV, this could be a great idea for supporting a cause whilst helping yourself. Whether you live in Castlemilk, or beyond in the wider UK, there are plenty of food solidarity groups who are always in need of a hand. Particularly those with qualifications in food preparation may be able to make themselves useful in soup kitchens and with other charitable efforts.