GROWING FOOD FOR A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE
Food producers in the U.K. are facing tough new challenges. Weather extremes have created some of the worst conditions for many decades; and we now import over three quarters of our fruit and vegetables, and food prices are rising (by 30 % since 2007) resulting in less purchases of fresh vegetables by all kinds of families, especially those on a low income. If we want to have good food in the future, we have to learn how to produce and sell it differently!
Riverside Market Garden has, over 5 years, developed a viable and exciting model of small-scale, organic, vegetable growing, delivering fresh produce to local customers. And as a community owned social enterprise, we also meet a number of social objectives in helping educate children, offering training opportunities for the sustainable farmers of the future, and sharing our knowledge and experience with other community food enterprises.
We now have inspiring new ideas to support our core business, and to offer customers a wider range of delicious, healthy, and sustainably produced food. These include: extending the season for vegetable production and weather protection, with a new polytunnel to grow year round crops and micro-leaves, and 'micro-tunnels' to protect field crops (a project involving a new design by local students).
To gain maximum production from our field, we also need some field drainage work. Finally, we have some really tasty plans to preserve and process some of what we grow, so that we can offer soups made from unsold veg, preserved fruit and veg, herb teas, and healthy snack foods like vegetable crisps. All of which will make healthy local food available to more people year round, and help get kids munching on things that are actually good for them!
Our funding target of £14,500 will enable us to start work on this right away. Any learning will be openly shared via our newsletter, project reports, and workshops. And of course, all investors will have satisfaction of knowing they’re supporting a flagship local food social enterprise which will inspire others throughout the country and help ensure that our collective ‘food future' will be a healthy, sustainable and delicious one.