PEOPLE in Alloa this month had the chance to learn how to eat well on a budget as part of efforts to tackle food insecurity.

Forth Valley Food Futures this March joined forces with Forth Valley College to host two free events in response to the rise in food insecurity and poverty in the country.

Held at the college's Alloa And Falkirk campuses, the events on March 8 and 11 offered community groups advice on how to cook nutritious but inexpensive meals from soups and stir fries to casseroles and puddings.

As part of the effort, students had the chance to tackle real-world challenges and showcase what budget-friendly cooking can look like.

Stuart Guzinski, of cross-sector partnership Forth Valley Food Futures, explained that an estimated 1.2million people in Scotland have experienced food insecurity with figures projected to increase due to ongoing cost of living challenges.

He said: “We’re pleased that the college chose to partner with Forth Valley Food Futures to address this growing issue, empowering their students to confront real-world challenges and showcase the transformative potential of budget-friendly cooking in everyday life.

“We collaborated with Forth Valley College’s Foundation Apprenticeship Hospitality Class to organise two gatherings aimed at providing practical solutions and enabling individuals to make healthier dietary choices regardless of their financial constraints.

“Notably, the students were given a real-life opportunity to put their cooking and front-of-house skills to the test, preparing a variety of low-cost, high-nutrition dishes for guests to sample.

“Their dishes were accompanied by a recipe book detailing cooking methods, costs and essential nutritional information.”

The events both featured keynote speakers with Carolyn McGill, of Forth Valley Food and Drink, highlighting the role hospitality businesses can play in driving positive change within their communities.

And Sheona McMorran, of community group KLSB, described how their pantry and café in Stenhousemuir helps promote food dignity through access to a wide range of nutritious options.

The gatherings also provided the college with an opportunity to highlight the direct actions it has taken to tackle food poverty within its student community.

Paul Cunningham, curriculum manager, said: “The success of these events underscores the importance of collaborative efforts in addressing food insecurity and promoting healthier eating habits within local communities.

“Forth Valley College remains dedicated to supporting individuals in overcoming barriers to accessing nutritious food.

“We do this on a daily basis by offering our students a free breakfast and lunch; as well as by packaging up any excess food at the end of the day into ‘food to go’ bags.

“Together we can work towards a future where no one has to go hungry or experience food insecurity."

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