Cherwell Collective is a new community interest company in Cherwell District, Oxfordshire serving several community groups, including Cherwell Larder (with over 1700 registered users seeking food support), Harvest @ Home (helping over 900 people learn to grow food and supporting community gardens all over the count), Oxford Party Library (with over 1500 users sharing party supplies to keep costs and waste down) and Climatarian Kitchen (a surplus and seasonal cafe serving the community in Kidlington).
In 2020 Cherwell Collective saved the carbon equivalent of over 1500 trees’ LIFETIMES by saving food waste, and our work serving the vulnerable during the COVID lockdown awarded the EESC Civil Solidarity Award in 2020 for “food supply and assistance to vulnerable groups” (more here: https://www.eesc.europa.eu/en/news-media/press-releases/cherwell-collective-wins-eesc-civil-solidarity-prize-uk). This prize was given for innovation, because we not only provide food, but also empower people to grow their own food; and provide meal kits, recipes, and a community cafe to inspire more flexible, less wasteful diets.
Our cafe, Climatarian Kitchen, operates out of Exeter Hall, Kidlington on Thursdays and Saturdays. We serve a set menu, primarily for the older adults in our community on Thursdays. Saturdays our cafe runs a seasonal menu, where suggested donations reflect the environmental cost of dietary choices. All of the food used in Climatarian Kitchen is donated surplus supplied from local businesses or our partners, Oxford Food Hub, or grown locally in one of Harvest @ Home’s GreenSpace Gardens. We are also the in-house catering unit for Exeter Hall, which means we provide food for large events, with sometimes hundreds of people. In November, 2021, using only surplus and food we had grown, we fed the local Air Cadets, British Royal Legion, and other dignitaries as the first of what we hope to make an annual village’s Remembrance Lunch. We served 150 people that day and were honoured to be asked.
In March, 2022 we are looking forward to another honour: catering the annual Rotary Club Celebration and Conference. Our staff cook with love and expertise, as well as flexibility. We often harvest herbs and produce the morning before our lunches. We plan to serve a selection of appetizers and finger food before the entertainment starts, a main during intermission, and a pudding after the show. We are excited to show off our skills and hope you love the food, and the feeling you have after reducing your carbon footprint and helping the vulnerable in our community through your support.
Cherwell Collective is supported by Cherwell District Council, as well as The National Lottery and Oxfordshire County Council. We rely on the generosity of volunteers who share their time, experience, skills, and expertise to empower our community.