Sustainable Food, supporting British farmers- Helen Tandy

Friends of the Earth (FoE) Land, Water and Earth

I have been reading up on the FoE Land, Food & Water campaign.

We were lucky to have Kierra Box who heads the FoE campaign, at the Cymru Gathering in North Wales last weekend.

Kiera wrote an article – Seven ways to express your love of British farmers. 

The seven pointers are 

  1. Buy British fruit and veg. 
  2. Pay a fair price – ensure people get a fair wage
  3. Buy British meat 
  4. Escape the grain exchange (20% of the materials to feed British livestock come from outside the EU. To avoid this buy pasture fed meat if you can. 
  5. Cut out the food middlemen
  6. Ask the government to back fruit and veg from British farmers*1
  7. Help improve farming*2

The thing that came to mind while reading this was Food Assemblies. The Food Assembly is a different way to purchase the items you would see at your local farmers market. You have the choice of a range of local products, vegetables, bread, cheese, meat and more. You decide what you buy, how often and how much you want to spend from the comfort of your home. The Assembly then have a regular date for collection of your order. This way the producers know in advance what they need to have ready or bake, rather than the uncertainty of a farmers market. This way you are supporting your local producers and the local economy. Some weeks you will get to meet the producers and some weeks even have the chance to taste test items. 

The farmers or food makers receive a fair wage and you get to purchase good quality locally grown food. food-assembly

Through The Food assembly, farmers and food makers get over 80% of every product sold, compared to 15-20% which would be offered by the supermarkets. All producers must be from within a 150 mile radius. This means the carbon footprint of your food is as low as possible. The Food Assembly won ‘Best British Food Initiative’ at the BBC Food and Farming Awards  2015.

The only local assembly at the moment is Chester (Hoole) although Llangollen and Hooten also have a running assembly with Tanyfron (Wrexham) currently looking to start one. If you are further into the North West you will fine one in Stretford (Manchester). If you want to know if you can find a Food Assembly near you put your post code into the website.

Chester’s latest producer is from Frodsham, My Spicy Blends. The Chester assembly takes orders up to 2am on Monday night/ Tuesday morning. You then collect your order from The Piper (Hoole) on Wednesday evenings between 5:30- 7pm.

The Food Assembly covers 5 of the 7 points Kierra raises.

Point 6- British farmers produce 84% of the meat we buy but only 22% of the fruit and veg. If we shifted to producing more of our own cereals, fruits, veg and nuts we could cut our carbon emissions by 73% and free up over a third more land to grow additional food. If you agree that producing more fruit and veg could help feed the nation and pay our farmers contact your MP.

Point 7- British farming relies on many factors, soil erosion, flooding and protecting the bees which pollinate many of our crops. We can do our bit by eating more sustainably, less meat, more fruit and veg. You can show your support by signing our Let’s Eat Better Pledge.. And perhaps logging on to see how you could do this by The Food Assembly..

I’ll be supporting The Food Assembly- #buylocal #zerowaste #lessplastic #plasticfree #sustainablefood #foodassembly #supportfarmers