In March, the Forgotten Fields project worked with a present day, small scale market garden - Glebelands City Growers in Sale - to find about the wealth of growers that existed in the area before supermarket culture took over.
On Monday 11th April Helen and Chloe visited Dunham Massey to meet with one of our organic growers, Chris Hewitt (pictured). Having discussed the Land Army project at FeedingManchester #6, the first stage of the project is now under-way, with 3 of our local growers having been interviewed and another two interviews to take place this week. The grower consultation will be the foundation for designing the Land Army pilot(s).
February saw the time of year for Peace Brigades International Guatemala training again, only this time Kindling's logistics role was very different from normal. The co-ordinator of the training team brought her 6 month old son Eduardo with her from Guatemala, so alongside logistical support Helen was the childcare for the 10 days.
Our Helen has been to London for a meeting with Defra officials on food policy and community food enterprises. Defra (Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) is refreshing the previous Government's Food 2030 report. A mix of organisations with a strong track record of supporting community action on food and inspiring examples of on-the-ground activity from across the UK, were invited by Peter Couchman of The Plunkett Foundation, to put forward their ideas and opinions.
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.