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Tuesday night was the event that I’ve been working towards for the past year.  The culmination of a year’s volunteering for my local branch of CPRE(Campaign to Protect Rural England), single-handedly running their local food work.  We have been running ‘Buy Local’ Food Awards to celebrate the fantastic work of businesses in Cheshire that grow/sell us great local food. 

The event was a combined effort from myself and Helen Meade, who is the Regional Co-ordinator for the CPRE ‘Mapping Local Food Webs’project which is being rolled out across England.  Helen has been running a pilot project in Knutsford, and with my local food awards coming to an end, it was a perfect opportunity to join forces and put on a lovely event. 

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We have been busy advertising the event through our different networks, but we still didn’t know how many people would turn up – I think we were hopefully for 30 (my secret goal was 50 though).  We had a number of interested businesses who offered to bring along samples of their food, and all five of our award winners were able to come.

So Tuesday evening finally rolled around.  My car was filled with tablecloths, earthenware vases, chalkboards and hedgerow flowers (a mixture of elderflowers, daisies, grasses, and cow parsley).  We had about an hour and a half to set the room up, with the normal hiccups (no glasses or cutlery…aah!). 

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Businesses started arriving and setting up their displays of food, leaflets and samples of food – yumm!  We had Riverford Organic:

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One of our ‘Buy Local’ Food Award winners – Riverside Organic – brought some baskets of the seasonal produce grown on their farm.  We also had sausage rolls from another of our winners H Clewlow Butchers, homemade gooseberry fool (I really want this recipe!) from the Walton Lea Project also an award winner, homemade cakes from Abbey Leys Farm, and chutneys and jams from a lovely company that I don’t know the name of! 

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Over 50 people turned out for the event, which is more than we ever imagined, so are so pleased and hope that people enjoyed the evening.  It was so lovely to see my local food awards come a glorious end with the winners accepting their awards.  I have really enjoyed running the awards but it has been exhausting at times, so I’m looking forward to a month off from volunteering before I start planning my next project.

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There should be some professional photographs available soon as a journalist from the local paper came along to the event.  If and when they are available I will post them or a link to them.

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I do quite a bit of volunteering in any free time that I have.  Most of it is to do with local food.  On Tuesday 16th June I am helping to run an event in Knutsford, Cheshire to celebrate the local food grown and produced in our county.  If anyone reading this happens to live near to Knutsford and is interested in local food, we would be delighted if you are able to join us.

There will be a project update on the Mapping Local Food Websproject that has been taking place in Knutsford, which is funded by Making Local Food Work and CPRE.  The ‘Buy Local’ food awards that I have run for CPRE Cheshire over the past year will see the presentation of the awards to the winners – I will add another post in the next day or so to let you know who are winners are.  There will also be local produce to try, and some delicious cakes, tea and coffee.

We’d love to see you there!  For more information contact Helen Meade on 07833 250 134 or leave me a comment.

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Abbey Leys Farmers Market :: Cheshire ::

I am still defrosting after spending the morning in a draughty barn at the local farmers market.  I am a volunteer with the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and am the sole volunteer responsible for their local food work.  I had a stall at a number of farmers markets in Cheshire over the summer, handing out leaflets and gathering nominations for a ‘Buy Local’ food awards we have been running. 

This time I was helping with a project that is being piloted round the country called Mapping Local Food Webs.  It sounds confusing and it is quite – but in brief it’s researching and documenting the relationships between farmer/producer, retailer and customer, and if there are any challenges.  If you’re interested more information can be found at http://www.makinglocalfoodwork.co.uk/.

The pilot project in the North West is being centred around Knutsford (if you’re reading this and from Knutsford (!) and are interested in getting involved please leave me a comment).  We had a great map of Knutsford and the surrounding area of about a 15 miles radius.  We asked people to put a coloured sticky dot on the map to show us where they had come from.  It was really interesting to see where people had travelled from – from the really local who had walked down the road, to those who had travelled over 15 miles and had to stick their coloured dot on the edge of the map. 

For me, I consider ‘local food’ to be food that is grown/produced within about 10 miles of where I live.  Nationally I believe it is defined as food that is produced within 30 miles of you, which is actually quite a distance if you look at it on a map.  It was a pretty quiet market today, the first of the year, but we are aiming to go back in a month when it should be back to its busy self, and hopefully the map will come with us and we should start to build up a really interesting picture of where people travel from to visit the market.

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Eat the Earth

I love food, especially locally grown and seasonal food. This is my place to share my food finds and the food I like to eat.

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All pictures are my own unless stated. I would kindly ask that you don't use them elsewhere unless you ask permission first. Many thanks x

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