Delivering meals to schools with Mission Kitchen | City Pantry
We've partnered with Mission Kitchen to help them deliver nutritious meals to schools and fight food poverty, while supporting local food businesses.
Mission Kitchen aims to support small food businesses to grow in their shared kitchens and workspaces, however the COVID-19 pandemic has put their kitchen construction plans on pause. In the meantime, they've been working on some charitable projects that help feed those in need. We've partnered with the team to lend a helping hand with deliveries to schools, so we caught up with Ellie to let you know more about Mission Kitchen, Mission Meals, and our new partnership.
What is Mission Kitchen?
Mission Kitchen is a new kind of commercial kitchen and shared workspace, built to help small food businesses grow. We offer flexible access to top of the range kitchens, inspiring co-working spaces and a collaborative community of food entrepreneurs.
We are launching our first site in Vauxhall next Spring, which will provide space and support for a community of up to 80 independent food businesses. Alongside kitchen and office space, we’ll be hosting inspiring events, expert mentorship and training programmes to help businesses navigate the industry and grow faster.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on the food and drinks industry. How have you adapted during this time?
COVID-19 had a big impact on our construction timelines, pushing back the launch of our flagship site by more than six months. At the same time, we saw how hard small food businesses were being hit by lockdown and social distancing measures. So we wanted to do something immediate to help. That’s how the idea for Mission Meals was born.
Millions of people have slipped into food insecurity as a result of COVID-19, and at the same time thousands of small food businesses found themselves at risk of closure, especially small caterers. We felt that was a way to make a positive contribution to both issues at the same time.
Through the Mission Meals initiative, we pay small food businesses a fair wage to produce nutritious meals, and then link up with charities and schools to get these meals to individuals and families living in food poverty. To date we have produced over 12,000 meals, and provided a vital income stream to 12 small food businesses in South London, each producing between 30 and 300 meals a week.
Alongside Mission Meals, we have also launched an online training programme called Launch Your Food Hustle, through which eight aspiring food entrepreneurs are gaining the skills they need to launch a new business in 2021. In the face of disruptions and delays to our launch, this year has really been focused on making a positive difference and helping to support the independent food sector through challenging times.
You partner with Chefs In Schools, a charity aiming to transform food, food culture, and food education in primary schools. What have you been working on together recently?
Through a partnership with Chefs in Schools, Mission Meals has enabled businesses to produce over 6,000 meals for children and families hit by the crisis. Chefs in Schools works with schools to identify the hardest hit families, and create hampers for those families each week. We then work with caterers to provide fresh, healthy, vegetarian meals to go inside of the hampers.
Since October, City Pantry has provided delivery from caterers to schools. This is a really crucial part of the process, and means caterers can focus on building their businesses. We love that City Pantry is a sustainable alternative to other delivery methods.
What are Mission Kitchen’s plans for the future?
As lockdown and social distancing measures begin to tighten again, many small food businesses will continue to be hit hard, and food poverty will be exacerbated. It’s clear to see that the model provided by Mission Meals is needed now more than ever.
That’s why we’ve partnered with Chefs in Schools to provide over 15,000 more meals over the next 5 months, providing an income stream for 10 more small food businesses in the process.
We’re also pleased to say that construction at our flagship Mission Kitchen site is back on track, and we are now expecting to open our doors next Spring. We will be starting the membership application process soon. So food businesses can register their interest here: https://www.missionkitchen.org/join-us
City Pantry launched our #FeedYourCommunity initiative in March 2020 during the first national lockdown to support key workers and vulnerable communities, as well as our vendor partners. Our partnership with Mission Kitchen is just one of the ways we're committed to helping our community during these trying times. You can read all our #FeedYourCommunity project here.