Donna McArdle

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Donna McArdle has always been passionate about good food, cooking and people. A lifelong working relationship with people management, training and hospitality, with a wide variety of project management posts, even taking time out to be a custodian for 6 years of a 300 year old working watermill. Prior to that she has lectured various times in her life teaching food and service skills. She has been very active in the last 10 years setting up a wide variety of Food Communities and Food Social Enterprises, in and around Edinburgh and the Lothian’s.

She is passionate about using food as an engagement tool, to build confidence, as well as creating food communities that help people to break down the barriers that prevent them from being able to cook and eat more nutritious, seasonal and local food easily.

She set up Scotland’s first ever community bakery in Dunbar, set up the hugely successful Grassmarket Centres food operations, various youth cafes, as well as a climate challenge funded project promoting growing and cooking. She has run a number of catering training projects for complex young adults and operated a wide variety of volunteer staffed kitchens.

She is also passionate about food waste and set up Scotland’s first ever Real Junk Food Project which takes surplus food and does pop up cafes/dinners and events to highlight the big issue that is food waste. She has helped 2 other Junk Food projects set up in Glasgow and Fife and often helps and advises communities wishing to organise community food events all over Scotland.

She is currently the development manager at a newly opened “urban asset transfer” community building which was a derelict farmhouse and now a stunning community resource 15 minutes from the town centre near Cameron Toll, Edinburgh.

There she has created a stunning training kitchen and started the journey of operating a completely volunteer run café using fresh local ingredients supplemented with surplus products from a local vegetable supplier and Mungoswell Mill flour. Everything is made from scratch with love and it is slowly establishing itself.

She has done events with many community groups and schools and is always happy to help anyone needing advice. She loves teaching people how to be resourceful and use things up and make fresh local nutritious food, she believes that food is medicine and has the ability to unite and transform people’s lives.

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