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More on ways people are coping with the increase in food poverty in today’s Food Programme on radio 4 about food clubs. A truly inspirational example is True Foods who won a Food and Farming Award last year for Best Retail Initiative. They started as a food club, a very informal local group in 1999. They wanted to source good, affordable organic wholefoods when there was a gap after local shops closed down. Five years later they became a Community Cooperative and now have a shop that is the hub, and run mobile markets in community centres taking food to a much wider range of people. They say:

“We are pooling our grocery budget, by regularly giving a little of our time we are pooling our human resources. The combined result benefits us with good access to good food at a price we can afford.”

The programme covered a range of other food clubs including Loaf in Birmingham, a bakery which has taken up the idea of Community Supported Agriculture, where people pay upfront to receive a share of produce – or in this case loaves of bread weekly. They also spoke to a member of relatively new food coop in Birmingham, Lucy who is the daughter of Green Party friends in North Tyneside, Alison and John Whalley, and is herself a Green activist. Their food buying group is being supported by Loaf, with the offer of retail space to be run jointly, at Loaf’s new HQ due to open soon.

Lots more info on food coops on the Sustain website.

Some wonderful green shoots in these grim times….

Closer to home, I’ll be joining the Sunderland Greens for their stall next to the Farmers’ Market on Friday 24th February, next to Park Lane bus station – campaigning against fuel poverty.

And at home, snowdrops and crocuses in the garden are so welcome, and reminded me to sort out the seeds and get the seed potatoes chitting. Our gardening club at school will be back in full swing next week, to get things happening in our community garden again.


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