From Oregon to Manchester, with love!

Sun, 03/20/2016
Bailey and Alex

Bailey McCracken joined Kindling last year to help get our organic box scheme off the ground – if you’re a Veg Box People customer you’ll know her friendly face from the Tuesday afternoon pick up at Manchester University. But she’s also getting stuck in growing at our Woodbank Park site in Stockport. This means she gets to see the whole food chain, from plant to plate (almost…)

     “I've been working for Veg Box People since last November, and volunteering at Kindling's two FarmStart sites since last August when I arrived in the UK from Oregon.  Working with VBP has been a great experience so far.  It has been fascinating to get an up close look at all aspects of a box scheme; from the development of new collection points and ordering, to packing veg and and running the stall at the University of Manchester.  My favourite part is talking with our customers at the University of Manchester, many of whom are passionate about all aspects of the food system, and hearing all about how they are cooking their beautiful organic veg and trying out new recipes. 

At FarmStart Woodbank in Stockport, it has been fantastic to see how the site has progressed over the last few months.  When I arrived in August the new top soil was just being delivered, and now the first year of FarmStart trainees are starting sowing and bed preparation.  This is especially exciting since VBP will be sourcing a large amount of veg for the box scheme from Woodbank during the height of the growing season, so I will be in the lucky position to see the entire food chain, all the way from sowing to packing to delivering beautiful bags of organic produce to our customers only a few miles away.  

So how did a gal from Oregon end up in Manchester?  I did my MSc. in Botany in Scotland, but you might say the seeds were sown toward the end of my undergraduate degree when I happened upon The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan, which articulates the many problems with the food industry and agriculture in the United States today, including the opacity and complexity of the food chain from the farmer to the consumer.  After I finished my MSc., I decided it was time to learn how to grow my own food and embarked on an internship at a sustainable farm in Hertfordshire.  After that I WWOOFed in the UK, where I met my wonderful husband Alex (Kindling's FarmStart Coordinator), who was doing a Future Growers apprenticeship through the Soil Association. 

Alex and I have also WWOOFed back home in USA, visiting small mixed farms and education centers along the Oregon and Washington coasts, as well as the first organic cranberry farm in Washington (we're in the cranberry bog in the pic!).  My long term dream for us is to have our own farm, either here in the UK or back in Oregon"

Visit Veg Box People's website here.

The Kindling Trust is a not for profit social enterprise with charitable aims (Company number: 6136029).
Kindling Trust Ltd - Bridge 5 Mill, 22a Beswick Street, Ancoats, Manchester, M4 7HR