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Did you know there are now more food banks in the UK than there are branches of McDonald’s?
Shocking we know, but foodbanks are now a vital and sadly accepted part of society; and for the survival of an ever-increasing number of people up and down the UK who are struggling through the cost-of-living crisis.
On this episode of Tea with the Changemakers we’re talking to the anti-poverty campaigner and food writer Jack Monroe who’s had more than their (un)fair share of controversy and trolling over the years.
Jack Monroe at their core is a mother who found themselves in a tight situation with the cost of living, finding it difficult to feed their son. Jack started writing a blog about cheap and easy recipes back in 2010 (yes, the cost-of-living crisis was still a thing back in 2010…). Little did they know that their blog would resonate with a huge number of people and eventually lead them to become a published author and a hugely influential figure in society.
It was Jack’s blog posts that eventually went on to form their first cookbook ‘A Girl Called Jack: 100 delicious budget recipes.’ Jack’s award-winning debut was published in 2014 and revolutionised the cookery book world – where else could you find a recipe for Vegetable Masala Curry for no more than 30p per portion? In fact, renowned chef Nigel Slater stated that “Jack’s recipes have come like a breath of fresh air in the cookery world.”
There are few figures like Jack Monroe in society, who have the sheer grit and determination to speak out on poverty and ignite genuine social change; knowing that whatever they say on whatever topic they’ll likely get trolled or some backlash. Despite the small-mindedness of some individuals on social media, Jack has had some huge victories lately including getting supermarket chain ASDA to reintroduce their ‘smart price’ range across all their stores.
Jack highlighted in one of their tweets that in 2021 rice in ASDA was priced at 45p for a kilogram bag. It then jumped to £1 for a 500g bag. While a pound doesn’t sound like an awful lot, everything adds up, and Jack worked out that this was actually a 344% price increase that would massively affect the price of people's shopping baskets! You can check out Jack on Good Morning Britain here, chatting about this very issue.
On this week’s episode of Tea with the Changemakers we think you’ll see a different more tender and relaxed version of Jack. Throughout their career, they’ve been subject to scrutiny and their authenticity has been bought into question. There is no denying that Jack’s often-brash approach has rubbed some people up the wrong way – but isn’t that the point? Jack is authentic and saying it as it is. Jacks made it their mission to keep the conversation going around poverty and strives to genuinely help those who are struggling.
This week, away from the tabloids and Twitter, we encourage you to make your own mind up about Jack Monroe. Take a listen today...