The year ahead – Kindling Trust on food, #Manchester and how you can get involved…

Climate Emergency Manchester believes that only with a huge upsurge in citizen activity, with groups that are strategic, densely-linked and genuinely innovative and welcoming, can we get any meaningful change in this city.
One way we are trying to contribute to the building of such networks is by offering guest posts/doing interviews with groups. Today it’s Kindling Trust. If you know of a group that would like a profile, have them email us on climateemergencymanchester@gmail.com

Who are you, and what do you do?

Since 2007, we’ve been working with communities, farmers, health providers, activists and policymakers to challenge and subvert the industrial food system, a system which fuels the crises of climate change, biodiversity loss, and economic inequity.

We are a small team with a big impact, establishing and nurturing initiatives and enterprises that tackle some of the most pressing issues in food and farming – at every level of this complex system. Our interrelated projects and initiatives – from our cooperative enterprises VegBox People and Manchester Veg People, to our urban horticultural hub in Stockport, Woodbank Community Food Hub, to our innovative social prescribing programme Grow, Cook, and Eat – model the kind of fair, responsible, and ecologically restorative food system we want to see.

We are part of the global movement for Food Sovereignty, a call to action that began with small farmers in the Global South, rejecting corporate dominance of farming and asserting the rights of all people to define and control their own ecological food systems. We know a better, fairer food system is possible…and we can prove it!

What are the 2021 goals for your organisation?

Our next step – buying a farm on the edge of Greater Manchester – will help us go further in building a food system that values the growers and producers of our food, respects and restores the land, and puts the health and well-being of our communities centre stage. Between the 3rd April and the 3rd July we will be running our Community Shares Campaign to raise money to buy this farm.

Kindling Farm is our response to an unsustainable and unjust food system, by creating a food economy that places fairness, sustainability, and health at its heart. One that values the growers and producers of our food, respects and nurtures the land, and puts the health and wellbeing of our communities centre stage. The Farm will be a place where, together, we can support a new generation of farmers, increase access to organic veg for all, pioneer the most ecological farming methods, and support others to create social change in their own communities.

There will be a particular focus on agroecology on our Farm, and more specifically in agroforestry. You can find out lots more about agroforestry by joining us for a short presentation and Q&A on Wednesday 3rd February at 7pm – drop us an email to mail@kindling.org.uk and we’ll send you a zoom link.

You can find out more about this campaign, and how to get involved, at www.kindling.org.uk/JoinFarm, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

If people get involved with your group, what sorts of things would they end up doing?

Aside from our exciting plans to buy a farm, we have a whole host of ways that you can volunteer with us.

If you want to meet like-minded people and get outdoors, you can join us for a day on a local organic farm, where you’ll learn about organic farming, get your hands dirty, enjoy a delicious lunch, and learn to form a deeper connection with the food you eat.

If you’ve got office skills that you can give, then we need you! From social media analysis, to web design, proof-reading, and reporting writing. We will be needing a lot of help during our Community Shares Campaign when it launches, too, so sign up to our e-news [here] to find out more.

We’ve also got lots of opportunities for you to help out at our events, whether that’s helping out with stalls at volunteer or farming fairs, or helping with logistics with our in-house events like our annual Open Farm Sunday. Most of these events have, of course, had to stop due to Covid-19, however when we’re back out in the physical world we will still need lots of hands to help!

 

What are the specific skills and knowledge you’re lacking?

We are a small team with a big impact, and we always want to do more to help to change the food system. A lot of what we want to do relies heavily on research, which we are not always able to carry out to the full extent we want to, due to our capacity. If you have research skills and want to help us to create a fairer food system, then you can help us with research that drives our projects and helps us show others why our work is so important.

We are always blown away by the interests that students, researchers, and universities take in our work and want to try our best to accommodate research interests and make our projects as accessible as possible. Particular areas of focus that we need research on are carbon sequestration and soil health, economics of urban agriculture, food policy, and community engagement. To send in your interest, please email mail@kindling.org.uk.

 

Complete this sentence: “For Manchester to become more sustainable/less unsustainable, in the next six months…”

Manchester City Council must focus heavily on food, the food system, and food sovereignty in Greater Manchester. With Brexit throwing into question the food security of this country, and Covid-19 showing to us how important the food industry and food workers are, now more than ever is the time to centre the food system to tackle climate change, food poverty, and the wellbeing of our communities.

By procuring directly from producers, supporting local farmers, and focusing on organic food, the council can ensure good access to healthy, affordable food for all of its citizens, while improving biodiversity and protecting wildlife in our region, and strengthening communities by creating deeper connections with the food that we eat.

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