Larder East

Welcome Goliath to the Long Table

For over a decade now people have been able to put food on their table because of the work of Larder>East. People overlooked by inflexible benefit reforms, people hard pressed by an unstable gig economy, people whose family structure, health, neuro-diversity or trauma makes it difficult for them to fit in with a profit driven economy and time and again. People experiencing severe distress. People who should never have to worry about hunger in the worlds 6th largest national economy. As a food bank we never felt comfortable calling them 'clients' or 'service users' and even as a community shop, calling them 'customers' or 'shoppers' didn't cut it. We wanted something personal that centered people and gave them belonging and a sense of their rights. We call them members and almost two years in we have over 300 of them. And now we're ready to build a longer table.

Running alongside our existing Samson membership, Goliath membership is for those in the community who have not been out-priced from the grocery aisles. It’s for those who are angry about the current system we’re all stuck in and hope for something better. It’s for a shopper that cares about food ethics but also food justice. And It’s for those who can be patient with hiccups and road bumps as we co-design. Together our memberships are not just an act of solidarity but of economic reconciliation and a re-commoning of food that has for too long been treated as a commodity. Together we can remember that food is not free, nor cheap, nor exclusive, but incredibly valuable, and in re-membering this we acknowledge the intrinsic value of each other.

By keeping a short supply chain with local people, we want to help bolster our food security and build community wealth. No more left-over food for left over people. And more participation in the means of production. More amplifying unheard voices and speaking truth to power. Less anonymity, stigma and shame, more collaboration, engagement and visibility.

You can read more about Goliath membership and even add your name to the waitlist here. And we will press on improvising, refining and tweaking a model built upon the simple ethic of sharing (albeit during complex times). We are again so amazed at the community support that keeps the Larder running and the trust and enthusiasm of our valuable members. We’re achieving so much more than we even imagined and together we’re reminded of the words of James Baldwin,

“Those who say it can’t be done, are usually interrupted by others doing it.”

Together we are doing it.

Become a Goliath Member

Making a choice between feeding your children and having a hot shower shouldn’t be happening in 2023. The work the Larder>East team have done in East Belfast is amazing, we couldn’t survive without them.

Lizzie, shopper since 2021

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