Our Plan: build a new local food economy
Our inspiration is the food project in Schwäbisch Hall in Germany.
(An English language summary of the project is on the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation website.) The project started with a handful of farmers in 1988 and has grown enormously, with over 1500 businesses participating. The farmers tackled the problem of supermarkets by building their own chain, attached to really nice food halls. The association now owns and runs a large meat processing factory producing a wide range of processed meats from pork raised by local farmers. The farmers set up a charitable foundation that bought the region’s castle, now run as a hotel and conference centre. The organisation heavily emphasises organic production, works to get a fair price for all products, builds marketing capacity, works to improve farm incomes and promotes regional development.
Like this project in Germany, we have to build a new local food economy that has been decimated by the system of industrial food production and supermarkets.
This takes a LONG TIME, as it did in Germany. We have to crank up local supply and demand bit by bit. By interviewing every food business in the area for this website, we have already discovered products that local growers could sell right now in the local area – we will post an article summarising all the opportunities in the next weeks. And we have assembled information about support for food businesses to grow. We have pulled together support for young people and we will go into the schools and promote it. We will blitz the surrounding areas with invitations to become part of growing the local food economy.
The next step, working together, is to lobby for resources to help us expand. If we can show that we are responding to the climate emergency, then we can be bold.
Crickhowell is just the start: we want to spread through the Brecon Beacons and beyond
We are starting in Crickhowell to test the initiative and after that, we will invite other communities in and around the Brecon Beacons (and ultimately across Wales) to adopt the Our Food concept to promote locally produced food to local people. Everything we are building in Crickhowell is open – even this website, Our Food Crickhowell can become Our Food Anywhere, starting tomorrow, and we are about to organise a promotion to other towns across the Brecon Beacons to join us.
Photo: JackPeasePhotograph. Flickr, Creative Commons