So onto the Food and Farming group. I realise as I type that full updates on all three groups is going to make for very lengthy blogs and I guess you have drunk your tea by now. So I will write more about Food and Farming next time, and meantime here is a summary of what they are up to. Some of this is happening and some of it is aspirational, so we can have fun seeing what happens as things unfold.
With the exam question “biodiversity, farming and land management? – discuss” – nothing like tackling the hard ones first – the group are looking into the implications of the Environmental Land Management Scheme’s policy discussion document, which was published earlier this year. They are identifying areas which either support or are lacking in terms of land management to sequester carbon; connecting with local MPs so they are aware of and can represent our views; and connecting with other stakeholders such as NFU and PDNPA.
They are also keeping a beady eye on the current Agriculture Bill, with a view to making the most of the lobbying opportunities it provides; and on an NFU petition.
So that’s the hard bit, and now for the very hard bit, changing long-established behaviours. There are two main prongs to this, local food shopping and community gardens. Much of interest has suddenly sprung into being round local shopping. As well as a food survey to establish food shopping habits, (which closed on 17 June – so watch this space – and had over 300 responses from Hope Valley villagers), a scheme to set up a virtual supermarket has emerged from the various village support network groups which sprung up at the start of lockdown. The food survey could not have been more timely. Becca very kindly added some more questions to help us work out who the customer base for a virtual supermarket supporting local Hope Valley businesses might be. It’s an exciting project using an existing website with a proven track record, operating successfully all round the country. It has the great advantage of cutting down the carbon impact of all those Big Six supermarket delivery vans coming out from the cities, and it allows villages to continue to support our more elderly and vulnerable residents even when Covid has been, gone, or been held at bay. Much more about the virtual shop in the next blog.
Now, everyone wants to hear about a community garden. How does your garden grow? With silver bells and slugs and deer and what else do you know. The gardens are primarily to be educational, with an emphasis on grow your own. (I have six tomatoes on my derelict looking tomato plants, I am so proud).
Hope Valley Cement Works have excellently offered some land on the outskirts of Bradwell for such a community garden, and once we have Covid gone or surrounded by a barbed wire fence see above, the work will begin to make that a reality. It’s completely charming and I love it.