It feels like there is great momentum in local food at the moment. Covid and Brexit have driven a new appreciation of where our food comes from. The need for, and power of, the local community working to feed each other has been made apparent. Food that works to improve the lives of people and planet is being given a new stage.
I’m constantly reflecting on The Farm’s achievements, how we work and where we’re going. Seeing The Farm on Countryfile, alongside Susannah and Simon at Strode Valley Organics, and the many happy comments we have received from friends of The Farm, as well as the new people who have contacted us as a result, has reminded me how proud I am to be part of such a strong local food network.
When the BBC asked how we helped feed local people, we made it clear that we don’t do it by ourselves. Since the beginning of The Community Farm, we made a choice not to just work with the food we could produce, but to develop an organisation that worked with a wider network of farmers and producers to feed people in the surrounding areas. Luckily for us, The Farm is almost equidistant to Bristol and Bath, two cities both working hard to improve their food systems, and sits in the gateway to the South West, a region that boasts 40% of the United Kingdom’s organic farmland12.
Bristol is now a Gold Sustainable Food City. This project took a holistic view of how local food can improve a city, highlighting the projects and people already working hard to do so, and helping others do the same. Its themes show the breadth of impact that local food can have; on individual health, wildlife and the environment, the local economy and our sense of community.
At The Farm, we have always taken this same holistic perspective: by farming in such a way that looks after wildlife, by inviting our community onto The Farm, by inviting people to learn to cook with food grown here, and by providing nutritious food that feeds local people.
Cities and places built around local food systems have the power to rejuvenate the land, local economies and communities. As people return from their summer holidays, children go back to school and we regain some sense of normality to our lives, we will stay resolute in our support of local food and will hope that the appreciation of its power and importance remains strong.
- Kim Brooks, Managing Director