Can Cook

Food Poverty Conference

It was great to see so many people at the ‘Food Poverty Conference’ on Wednesday at Sefton Park in Liverpool.

The event was lively, delivered by passionate speakers giving their perspective on food poverty issues, some controversial, but all very interesting.


Here is an overview of the day:

Communiversity Drama Group – The event kicked off with a short play ‘highlighting the financial and emotional pressures facing many families in the UK today, including those claiming benefits and working with zero hours contracts.

Dean Paton – Archaeologist: Outlined that despite the UK having enough land to feed the entire population ten times over, food poverty is on the increase. Dean advocated education and exercising the right to vote as possible solutions, along with limiting meat consumption.

Martin Caraher – Professor of food and health policy: Highlighted the scale of the problem, stating that many people are living below the poverty line and many of those going hungry are actually overweight. Martin called for city wide policies, to be implemented by local groups working together.

Robbie Davidson – Director of Can Cook: Launched the ‘Food We Need’ campaign aimed at ending food poverty in Merseyside by 2017. Robbie provided details of the work undertaken to assess the nutritional content of Food Bank parcels, which he said were found “not to be fit for purpose”. As part of the new campaign, prospective donors will be given a shopping list detailing precise foods required to sustain a family of 4. These donations will be used to provide fresh healthy food parcels to make nutritious meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

To close the event Robbie thanked everyone for attending and stressed the importance of working collaboratively together to deal with the crisis, and address underlying food poverty issues.


For more information on the work of ‘Can Cook’ see the following link:

Examples of current and future food parcels were on display at the event, these are attached below for information.



Networking broadens your horizons

What I really enjoy about going to new places and meeting new people is that you find out all sorts of interesting information that you didn’t know, you didn’t know.

When I’m out and about, if I’m introduced to a new topic or given a name of an individual or organisation I’ve never heard of, I note it down and follow it up with a bit of research.   I’m one of those annoying people that during a lecture or presentation I make copious notes.  Sometimes I don’t refer back to them, just the process of writing down seems to help me remember.  Taking time-out to reflect back on the events of the day is not always easy, but it is great way of consolidating knowledge and broadening horizons.

At the ‘Can Cook’ Event I blogged about in yesterdays post, Robbie told us about his food hero Michael Pollan the author of ‘Cooked’ and ‘Omnivores Dilemma’.  I wrote in my notes.. MUST READ!!  I’ve ordered both books and will let you know what I think in a future post.


Yesterday we also spent time talking about the struggles of cooking on a tight budget and Robbie referred to a famous blog called ‘A girl called Jack’. It was a teeny bit embarrassing that as nutrition students we were not already aware of this blog, but that’s the beauty of networking.  I’ve just spent an hour catching up on Jack Monroe’s journey from unemployed, single parent to journalist / campaigner on poverty issues and it’s a beguiling read.


If you get a spare few minutes check out the following link you won’t be disappointed.


Can Cook – Liverpool

Just had a fabulous morning at ‘Can Cook’ in the Matchworks, South Liverpool.


I went along with a group of fellow students from Edge Hill University’s Nutrition and Health Degree Course.  We were treated to a grand tour of the venue, spent an entertaining couple of hours with Robbie Davidson ‘Can Cook’s’ Director and finished off with a delicious freshly cooked lunch of chicken and chickpea stew with crusty bread. Thanks goes to Natalie for the great hospitality.

Robbie talked to the group passionately about his aspirations for ‘Can Cook’ and how the enterprise got started.  His vision is to connect people through food with initiatives such as:

  • Kitchen Share Incubator – Offering help and support to food entrepreneurs including use of the Kitchen Share facilities, events to showcase products and business planning.
  • Cookery school – A state of the art, purpose built kitchen perfect for cookery demos / corporate events.
  • Pop Up Studio / kiosks – Temporary cookery facilities offer a unique way of delivering healthier messages in workplaces, communities, schools etc.
  • A new meals on wheels service – Providing fresh, nutritious food that people actually want to eat.
  • Innovative street food trucks – As an alternative to junk food currently available, street food trucks will a make reasonably priced delicious, fresh food easily accessible. These are not your standard butty vans, these are very different!
  • Cook Books – ‘Everyday cooking for everyday people’ and ‘Takeaways’.


What I love about ‘Can Cook’ are their values. They want to encourage people the eat healthier, freshly prepared food by giving the confidence and knowledge to cook from scratch and to see that it doesn’t have to be over complicated.  They want cooking to be fun, and although they are not labouring the science behind nutrition, they are advocating a shift to a healthier balanced diet.

The work they are involved in to make charity food bank parcel’s more nutritiously sound is the overall winner for me. As a trainee nutritionist I’ve thought long and hard about volunteering with a Food Bank because it is such a worthwhile cause. I couldn’t however get over the ethical dilemma of issuing food parcel’s to vulnerable people that I wouldn’t eat myself, or feed to my own family.  Keep up the great work ‘Can Cook’ I’ll certainly be watching this space with interest.

Find out more at: