First organic crops harvested for Manchester Restaurants
In the the midst of yet another bad start to the growing season, growers from Farmstart, an incubator project for new organic farmers in Greater Manchester recently harvested their very first crops for sale through Manchester Veg People. Kate Kershaw reports.....
It’s interesting and heartening that at a time when farmers are saying their crops are already 30% lower than expected, new growers are popping up around Greater Manchester to join the food revolution.
Set up just 18 months ago by a group of organic growers and buyers who wanted to find a collaborative solution to some of sustainable farming’s barriers, Manchester Veg People supports local growers by providing them with a new and expanding market for their produce and a direct link to their buyers through a co-operative. In its first year the co-op enabled the sale of fresh local produce with a value of £22,000, all achieved using borrowed vehicles, storage and office space.
Both FarmStart and Manchester Veg People are linking projects set up by the Kindling Trust which supports local sustainable growing. The pioneering Manchester Veg People model sees growers and buyers as members of the co-op, working together to co-ordinate supply and demand, reducing the risk for the growers and crucially paying a fair price to growers for their produce.
Talking about how Manchester Veg People aids new growers FarmStarter Lisa said;
“The idea of selling up and buying a small holding had been a dream for a long time and we wanted some land so we could see whether it was really for us. Looking for a piece of land and knowing what was right and where to look seemed a huge step in itself. The FarmStart project and Manchester Veg People gave us the confidence to think this was a possibility, by giving us access to, land, support, tools advice and a route to market. Making all those contacts and gathering all that knowledge yourself on top of growing/sustaining a piece of land would have seemed too enormous a task without their support”.
Manchester Veg People is a unique organisation which is already being held up as an example of good practice and a model for the future of sustainable growing. Its message brought great acclaim and applause at this years’ Oxford Real Farming conference.
The world (or a small part of it – including lots of growers with their fingers crossed!), are waiting to see whether this pioneering and fairer model of trading food can work. We believe it can – but we need your support to grow the business. Please support Manchester Veg People's crowd funding campaign
Full details of the campaign can be found here
The campaign runs until Sat 20th July.
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