On the 16th July 2013 Food4Hull organised a free, public event:
Inspiring Food Stories from Manchester
and action we can take in Hull
Helen Woodcock & Chris Walsh from The Kindling Trust came over from Manchester and gave an inspiring talk about some of the things they’d achieved in Manchester. Here’s a (brief) summary for those who couldn’t make it.
They started a network: Feeding Manchester
They host periodic events attended by growers, grocers, caterers etc. Conference style, charge to attend, higher charge for businesses/public sector.
Out of those they identified issues & forged solutions, creating the projects below.
The Feeding Manchester website includes a sustainable food directory.
This website is available for use by other areas, for free.
Problem: Growers had food they could not afford to harvest & was left to rot, while consumers in the city were demanding more local produce but not enough supply.
Every week a group of volunteers goes to help on organic farms. Does not displace paid work. Briefing from farmer, but otherwise just get on with it. Learn organic farming techniques. usually ~6-8 people, hired minibus.
Started with a £5k grant from Plunkett foundation. Later a grant for a landrover from Lush.
est. £3:£1 return, but don’t currently charge the farmer.
Problem: Some young people, often graduates, had an interest in becoming organic farmers but it was difficult to learn the skills & cash flow the first season. How on earth do you go from an urban full time job + allotment to full time farmer doing large scale farming?
General plan: Land Army > Course > Farm Start > Farmer
Part of a farm is rented from a retiring farmer. Divided into long plots. Let to wannabe farmers, who can practise large scale farming techniques on their plot. Shared resources, machinery & support. But this can be done part time.
‘A co-operative of local organic growers and restaurants working together to provide fresh, seasonal food of the highest possible quality.’
Problem: Growers not paid a price that covers the cost of production.
Builds relationships & trust. Members of the co-op supply produce at a fair, realistic, actual cost, other members buy it.
A report was done for the Local Authority, pilot project supplying soup to a school.
Shared vehicle & cold store. Just crowd sourced to raise funds for their own.