Friday 21 October 2011

Local Food Connection

Bill Quay Local Food Connection Oct 11 1

I went to Bill Quay Community Farm in Gateshead this morning for the breakfast launch of Bill Quay Local Food Connection. As a food and social historian and allotment and cookery webcaster, this was clearly going to be of interest to me. The information we were sent explains the project:

Thanks to grant funding from the Big Lottery Local Food Programme, the Farm’s facilities now include a community kitchen, communal eating space and counter for a local food cafĂ© and farm shop. This distribution and sales hub supports local producers and provides local & regional foods to the community. Along with a programme of inclusive events and activities to engage and educate users the Local Food Connection will offer training experiences and volunteering opportunities for vulnerable adults. Schools and families will be able to use the Connection for educational and recreational purposes.

The Bill Quay Local Food Connection is a new community resource which will make local food accessible, affordable and enjoyable for local people, providing facilities to enable them to taste, buy and cook with local & regional food.

In my opinion, the standardization and mass production of food has led not to a great range of food that a look in a supermarket would suggest is available. Instead, it has led to the loss of local varieties, extra pollution caused by the unnecessary shipping of some foods from thousands of miles away, and an increasing remoteness of food production from the people eating it.

We need to appreciate our food more. That appreciation would increase if we know it is locally produced, rather than churned out of a factory that could be thousands of kilometres away.

So Local Food Connection is getting my full support. I also have a passing interest in Bill Quay Community Farm. I am one of the volunteer beekeepers there. We took some frames of honey off one of the hives a couple of weeks ago. It is now on sale at the farm shop and the proceeds will help support the work of the farm.

Unfortunately we didn't get to try the pig cake, pictured above.

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