So…July already! Time is flying by; after wet May and mixed June, the start of July has seen a mini-heatwave!
It's now been four happy, muddy and very productive years over which our Land Army volunteers have been supporting and learning from Greater Manchester's organic farmers. And this summer is as busy as ever! Just a few weeks ago we ran two Team Challenge Days for University of Manchester employees, which were loved by the participants and hugely appreciated by the farmers. The teams helped to regenerate a pond area, cleared a mass of brambles and, at our new FarmStart site in Stockport, mapped out a herb area and started preparing an area of outdoor growing space.
To tackle the ageing farming population and the scarcity of organic farms in the North West, Kindling is supporting a new generation to transition gradually to a new career in farming. First year participants (TestCroppers!) undergo an intensive training programme on a shared section of land, before taking on their own ¼ acre strip in the second year. TestCropper Stephanie Robson (pictured with fellow trainee Chris) brings us news from the field...
Chris isn’t only helping set up our brand new organic box scheme, he’s also training as a grower to one day supply the scheme himself. And it’s a background in ecology that’s generated his passion for organic food. Chris explains the connection, and how Veg Box People is helping him and others build an alternative food economy in Greater Manchester.
Kindling is a founder member of the innovative Manchester Veg People co-operative, who are seeing sales surge this spring as the word spreads and ever-more chefs and caters seek out their fresh and truly local organic produce. They are currently recruiting for two new worker members.
David tell us about the encouraging growth MVP's experiencing, what it’s like working as part of the co-op, and what new recruits can expect from an unusually absorbing job....
We’re on a constant mission to make locally produced, organic food available to more and more residents of Greater Manchester. Not only that, we also want to make sure that sustainable food benefits both its consumers and producers – through a farming system that respects the soil AND the people who work it.
So, in a bid to do all of these things, we’re launching Kindling's very own, unique veg box scheme, supplying weekly boxes of organic veg from Manchester Veg People co-operative direct to one of the largest workplaces in the city – the University of Manchester.
Kindling is helping develop a new urban growing hub in Stockport, bringing together inclusive community gardening with commercial organic food production. It’s an innovative partnership that has huge potential, both for local community development and for the rejuvenation of a local food system for Greater Manchester. It’s also providing Kindling with a brand new, second FarmStart site!
Kindling is a founding member and long-time partner of Manchester Veg People, a unique co-operative of local organic growers and food businesses. They are recruiting for two new co-op workers to work with them at this exciting stage of their development. Read on for the job details.....
Manchester Veg People are recruiting!
Our aim is to bring growers and buyers together to get as much fresh, seasonal food of the highest possible quality from our local fields onto plates across Greater Manchester.
We’ve had loads of interest from other groups around the UK in our FarmStart initiative, so we’re holding a day on 30th May to pass on everything we know about setting up and running a farm business incubator! It’s open to farmers and non-farmers alike who are interested in setting up a similar programme in their region.
FarmStart Abbey Leys is the UK’s first such initiative, based on inspiring and successful models in Canada and the US, and aims to make the route into organic farming easier.