#FeedTheNation: Ag colleges donate food to local charities

Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) has donated almost one-and-a-half tonnes of poultrymeat to local food charities as it seeks to help out during the coronaviorus pandemic.

The poultry came from the college’s now closed carcass evaluation unit in South Ayrshire and was distributed to food banks, school breakfast clubs and homeless shelters in the Glasgow and West Scotland area.

See also: Farmers appeal to public to buy British food

Based at the Auchencruive Estate, the unit was involved in a range of investigative work, including assessments of carcass quality and meat yield for commercial breeders and growers, handling up to 2,000 birds a week.

The meat was previously sold though a shop on campus.

But the site has now closed, pending relocation to to new facility at the Bush Estate, Edinburgh later this year.


The first donation of meat included 600kg of whole chicken, 250kg of chicken legs and 615kg of chicken breasts.

It was handled by FareShare – a charity which aims to relieve food poverty and reduce food waste in the UK by redistributing nutritious, in-date and safe-to-eat food.

FareShare staff sorting the donated food

FareShare staff sorting the donated food from SRUC © Marita Upeniece/SRUC

More than 100 charity and community groups in the area benefited, including hostels, day centres, lunch clubs, addiction agencies, young people’s projects and refugee centres.

Colin MacEwan, director of commercialisation and innovation at SRUC said: “At this difficult time, SRUC is doing all it can to support and help the community though the wide range of mechanisms it has at its disposal.”

Other activities include providing emergency accommodation within student halls; using labs for additional testing; putting staff forward for volunteering roles; and identifying personal protective equipment (PPE) that can be returned for use in the community.

Feeding the 5,000

In a separate initiative, the Royal Agricultural University (RAU) has teamed up with the “Feeding the 5,000” project to provide homecooked, healthy meals to those in need in the Cirencester area.

Catering chief Ryan Hanson

Ryan Hanson © Royal Agricultural University

The RAU campus has suspended face-to-face teaching and, with reduced numbers on site, catering chief Ryan Hanson had already started  preparing meals for staff at work or students in residence to buy at reduced costs and take home or freeze.

He said: “We were keen to extend this to the local community, but didn’t have the distribution means. But after putting out a call on a community Facebook page, I was approached by The Long Table about the Feeding the 5,000 project.”

Based near Stroud, this community-based kitchen will serve as a central hub, taking meal orders and then raising them with the RAU and other satellite kitchens in Gloucester and Cheltenham.

Creed Foodservice will be providing the ingredients to produce the meals.

Mr Hanson and his team will be cooking 1,200 meals a day, packaged up, labelled and frozen ready for distribution to the Cirencester community.

“Food and people lie at the heart of the RAU’s activities and we’re proud to be able to do our part in feeding the nation in these challenging times,” he said.


Farmers Weekly is getting behind the #FeedtheNation campaign to back UK farmers working flat out to produce safe, affordable and reliable food to feed the nation during the coronavirus crisis.

With our partners, we are raising public awareness of this campaign by highlighting the actions farmers are taking to get food to consumers.

Join in the campaign by sharing your stories with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #FeedtheNation or email us at philip.case@markallengroup.com or telephone 020 8652 4905.

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