FRESH food is a common sight at markets, but members of Leys Community Market have taken it a step further with a new cooking scheme.

Visitors to the Saturday market, held at the Barn in Long Ground, can now get involved in preparing and cooking a weekly meal.

Christine McDermott, a co-organiser of the market, said: “We wanted to share and encourage the skills that are here on the Leys and bring people together around food.”

The Greater Leys resident said the first session last week saw eight people involved in the cooking: “It was fantastic, and I think it’s good to start small.”

The free scheme is a partnership with the Oxford Food Bank, which gives food to over 50 schemes and charities around Oxford.

The Food Bank’s co-founder David Cairns said: “This is waste food from supermarkets, restaurants and so on. It would otherwise go into a hole in the ground.

“We have the food in abundance and the market are putting it to good things to help people know about food and cooking.”

Jean Dyer, who lives in Greater Leys, 75, was one of the residents involved.

She said: “I was great at chopping all the vegetables and the little ones were learning how to chop things properly.”

Another helper was nine-year-old Laiba Akram, from Cowley.

Her dad, Azam, said: “She was helping with chopping, marinating, stirring and serving to anybody who wanted to try some.”