The EU influences every aspect of the UK’s food and farming systems; subsiding farming to the tune of billions and regulating everything from worker and consumer protection to rural development, biodiversity and river water quality.
We’ve just entered our one and a half acres at Woodbank Park into organic conversion, a process that covers the changeover from non-organic to organic growing. It’s being overseen by the Soil Association, one of the UK’s organisations for licensing organic food growing. The Association annually inspects every grower it licenses, to ensure that everyone sticks to its stringent set of standards. We now begin the three-year pathway to providing organic, local produce for the Stockport area.
We’ve recently spent a couple of days helping a group of 8-10 year olds from Hulme to create a Wangari Maathai Peace Grove, in honour of the first African women to win the Nobel Peace Prize.
The grove is one of three being created in the city through the wonderful Manchester Environmental Education Network (MEEN). According to MEEN’s co-ordinator Raichael, the project aims to “inspire our communities with Wangari Maathai’s story, to bring young and older community activists together to share their stories whilst taking positive action together by planting trees”.
Once again the Oxford Real Farming Conference (ORFC) gave us a great start to the year, made even more exciting by the very first meeting of the Kindling farm's advisory group!
The conference, now in its fifth year, is a unique gathering of the UK’s agroecological farming movement. And the evening before the start of ORFC, some of the most respected people in the sector met to explore and challenge our vision for Kindling’s farm. As well as offering very positive and useful feedback, they started to look at how to help us communicate our vision for the farm to the outside world.
We’ve got a brand new crop of seven FarmStarters spread over our two FarmStart sites, who will soon be getting stuck into their first ever season of organic veg production on a commercial scale. Here’s some thoughts from the folk taking part:
Last weekend was the UK’s 2nd Food Sovereignty gathering, bringing together over 200 people from across the UK: well established farmers and growers, new entrants to farming, buyers, NGOs/ campaign organisations, academics, activists (and loads more!).
Food sovereignty is the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems.
Well it's been a busy month and I feel quite giddy.
Whilst hundreds of thousands of people have had to turn to foodbanks in recent years, emergency food aid cannot be a long-term solution. Come and hear the findings of the Fabian Commission on Food and Poverty, and have your input into shaping the growing campaign to tackle food poverty and hunger in the UK…
Do you care passionately that no one in the UK should go hungry?
Do you think that Government could do more to tackle food poverty?
On Wednesday of this week pupils at a Stockport school had a fantastic time tasting fresh, local, organic salads. Priestnall School is the first secondary school in Greater Manchester to take part in an exciting pilot to adapt its menu to introduce more local, healthy, organic fresh veg into its menus.
The pupils tasted a potato salad, a roast vegetable salad, a beetroot and carrot salad and a tomato and spring onion with veg supplied by FarmStart growers.