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Spreading the Shared Table model of community food assistance

Poverty, loneliness and the need for food assistance are increasing. At the same time, approximately 400 million kilograms of food per year goes to waste in Finland. The aim of the project is to spread the model of community food assistance.

WHAT IS IT ABOUT?

The Shared Table (Yhteinen pöytä in Finnish) model combines greater use of surplus food and the development of food assistance with resident-oriented, networked and communal civic activity. The aim is to increase the well-being of people receiving food assistance while also increasing the high-quality use of surplus food. Moreover, the logistics involved in the prevention of food waste creates meaningful jobs. Shared Table is managed by the City of Vantaa and the Vantaa Parish Union.

What are we doing?

In the project, applications of the Shared Table model created in Vantaa are generated for other regions, developing them in such a way that they meet the needs of the specific region. The important thing is to find different ways of building and strengthening local networks, which will be used in addition to maximising previous experience of distributing surplus food. Each region has its own specific structures for co-operation between local authorities, parishes, companies and the third and fourth sectors.

The concrete aim of the project is to involve at least up to three larger units with whom a deeper partnership will be formed. The Shared Table model will be adapted in these units. In addition, food assistance networks operating in 8 to 10 municipalities will be provided with consultation and assistance with building a local model. The operational manual drawn up for

Who are involved?

The project’s steering group includes the funders of Shared Table from Vantaa and Sitra. A project manager has been employed for the project to visit the regions to consult and inspire participants as necessary. The Shared Table development team will join the project manager as necessary. The consultation is free of charge, as well as the manual and the results of the impact assessment. Close co-operation is carried out nationwide with other large projects promoting inclusion and with those in the food assistance field.

Where have we got to so far?

The Shared Table model has been applied for longest in Järvenpää, where the Yhdessä katettu network has already been operating for two years. HJärvenpää, Helsinki, Tampere, Turku, Jyväskylä, Rovaniemi, Tuusula, Kouvola, Oulu, Hämeenlinna, Vaasa and Lahti are already taking measures to find or develop their own models, inspired by Shared Table. In addition to this, eight more regions have expressed an interest.

The project began on 1 December 2017 and will run until 31 December 2019.

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