The University of Manchester & the Kindling Trust have been working to bring one of the City's largest food purchasers and some of the region’s greenest farmers together to increase sustainable food for the city.
We've just had our second visit from MERCi's Sustaining Change team as part of our ongoing commitment to minimise our environmental impact and increase the sustainability of Kindling.
Last year we began the audit process looking at our activities in eight areas: Food and Drink; Purchasing and Procurement; Energy and Water; Travel; Buildings and Local Neighbourhood; Inclusion and Participation; Partnership and Promotion; and Waste.
FeedingManchester #6 was held on Wednesday 16th March at the Yard Theatre in Hulme, with thirty-odd groups, individuals & businesses from across Greater Manchester.
Again, there was a great mix of attendees: from Manchester Museum to Bolton Wholefood Coop, from Manchester Slow Food group to Salford's St Sebastian Community Centre as well as regulars like Hulme Community Garden Centre, Unicorn Grocery and Food Futures.
Kindling has benefited from MMU Business School students over the last few months, exploring the potential for supplying more organic food to Manchester.
Over £60 million is spent in Greater Manchester each year on organic food and other products. The group of six final year students looked at opportunities for local growers and producers to sell more of their produce, via restaurants, higher education establishments and directly to customers via box schemes.
Manchester Fayre staff did Manchester and our neighbouring countryside proud on Wednesday 9th February when they served 400 portions of local seasonal organic soup at the Soil Association's annual conference.
The 'super winter veg soup' was made from cabbages, potatoes, onions, leeks, carrots and parsnips all grown within 30-odd miles of Manchester.
Our closest grower was Dunham Massey Organics just nine miles away with many of the ingredients coming from the fertile fields of Ormskirk - 30 miles away.
Nearly 250 people crammed into Manchester Town Hall to ask: Can we balance food accessibility with sustainability? The evening began with Monty Don welcoming everyone followed by three passionate and inspiring speakers.
Greater Manchester's very own collective of organic growers and buyers met yesterday (7th February 2011) to discuss the name and branding of the fledgling group. Six possible names have emerged which will soon be whittled down to the final choice. Watch this space and hear it first!
Growers like Gleblands City Growers and Moss Brooke Organic Growers; farmers like Tom Rigby as well as buyers: Unicorn Grocery and DIG Food took part in the half-day session at Red House Farm near Dunham Massey.
Our Matt joined folk from around the country on the 22nd of January at the excellent 'GM - Gathering Momentum' event in London, a great combination of key note presentations by experts in the field and practical and involving action-based workshops.
Its a year since our first Fuelling Manchester social and the 17th February (2011) will see the fourth in this series of gatherings for all those of us involved in community renewable projects, be that: water turbine co-operatives; bio-mass and woodland management enterprises; waste-to-energy projects, solar energy collectives or those involved in community-focused action on insulation and energy efficiency.
Its been a busy start to 2011, with one of the things we are determined to improve about Kindling this year is our profile and the way we communicate our work and progress. We believe we made huge progress in 2010, but didn't really keep people informed of all the exciting things we were doing.
Therefore this year we are going to focus on three main ways to improve communication: