An interview with Virginia Nimarkoh (pictured), who created Lambeth Larder
So what is Lambeth Larder?
Lambeth Larder is a community food resource for local people. It’s the first of its kind in London, if not the UK. There’s a website, online map and free downloadable info sheets for anyone to use. The resource can help people find emergency food, save money, reduce waste; cook healthy meals on a small budget and lots more.
People can also use the Lambeth Larder to find services nearby, including help with money problems, legal advice, digital support, mental health and homelessness. Many of the organisations listed in the Lambeth Larder offer opportunities to volunteer or donate, like the food banks and community gardens. So, it has something for everyone.
What made you set it up in the first place?
In my last job, as Community Food Coordinator at St. Luke’s Hub in Kennington, part of my role was to research what local community groups do to reduce food poverty and to support that work. There’s so much great community work going on in Lambeth. Sometimes it’s hard for people to find out what’s available. I wanted to find some simple ways to share the information and promote the work being done – and Lambeth Larder is the result.
What were you doing before?
I’ve been working in Lambeth for ten years. Firstly, on environmental regeneration projects, that involved working with groups to improve parks and open spaces in the borough. Then, I became more involved in community food projects, running them independently. That resulted in me leading on Lambeth Food Insecurity Project, a two-year pilot project, which Lambeth Council funded, and which ended in the summer.
How has this partnership with Brixton Advice Centre come about, and what will it involve?
I’m really excited to be working with Brixton Advice Centre (BAC). I made contact with Patrick Torsney last year when BAC hosted a collaboration with University College London (UCL) looking into the effects of food insecurity on health. In June, we co-hosted a seminar called ‘Enough’s Enough: Tackling Food Insecurity in Lambeth’. The event presented the findings from Edwina Prayogo’s research (UCL) and my report on food insecurity in the borough. When the funding from Lambeth Council ended, Patrick invited Lambeth Larder to have a base at BAC. I’ll be here weekly while we work on fundraising and formalising Lambeth Larder.
How can people get involved?
The Lambeth Larder relies on input from the community. I’m always looking for people to get in contact if they have information to share about local events we can add to the blog, groups or services that have not been listed, or if they have healthy low-cost recipes or tips to share, or anything else they think we should know. We’ll be looking for volunteers to help with the project going forward, too. So people can email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
What’s next for Lambeth Larder?
Over the next few months, we’ll be busy fundraising to secure the Lambeth Larder and produce new paper resources – booklets, leaflets and so on – that we can give out to schools, libraries and community groups. Not everyone is online, so we want to make sure Lambeth Larder is available to as many people as possible. Also, we want people to spread the word about Lambeth Larder, use the resources and tell anyone they know to check it out. The more people that use Lambeth Larder the better, it’s a free resource!
Interview and pictures by James Hopkirk, 2017
Sign up to News from the front line by clicking here