The Food Group doesn’t exist as a group any more – but much of the content is still relevant.
Why Support Local Shops?
At his workshop in Lewes last month, Rob Hopkins called the supermarkets “extractive industries” because they export wealth from the town. It can be estimated that Lewes people spend about £21 million pounds a year on food. (1)
Most of that, maybe £16 million, does still go to the supermarkets despite the growth of the Farmers’ Market and Food Market.
Rob talked about the enormous potential of diverting even a tenth of those millions to local businesses. Think what a transformative effect even £2 million would have in terms of local jobs – and much of this money would again be spent locally.
Spending £10 in a local shop is worth £25 to the local economy because of local re-spending. And local food shops employ three times as many people for the same amount of turnover.
It is possible to obtain virtually all food needs in our local independent shops and markets. See Where to buy And price need not be a barrier for many people – see Lewes Food Market’s price comparison
TTL Food group have become involved in the Lewes Station Pots and Plants project.
This was originated by Mayor Councillor Ruth O’ Keeffe and is being organised by Mary Sautter. The pots and planters on the station had become neglected so Mary has approached various Lewes business to sponsor a planter. In exchange for £30 the business gets its name on a planter and Mary and her team plant and maintain it.
The TTL Food Group has adopted a stretch of the bed on platform 3 and is planting it up with fruit, vegetables and herbs which passengers will be able to help themselves to if they wish. The plan is to show that quite a lot of food can be grown in a small area and can look attractive as well.
Where to Buy
Take a look at Where To Buy for local sources of basic food items.
Yummy School Dinners
|Do you know of examples of good school food in the Lewes area, or schools where people are working for improvements?|
The TTL Food Group and the Lewes Food Market are represented on the county working group on local food, which is part of the East Sussex Environment Strategy. We are focusing on food provided to schools, the NHS, care homes and other institutions. There is a lot of positive activity in East Sussex and nearby, partly through the Lottery-funded Food For Life partnership, which includes the Soil Association. It promotes local, traceable, healthier food, and the standards for catering suppliers include a proportion of free range and organic production. We may soon be looking for pilot schools.
Email Ann to share your experience and find out more.
SOW IT – GROW IT – EAT IT!
Would you like to grow vegetables but only have a balcony, patio or small garden; need to know how to go about sowing and growing vegetables; want to do so without spending a lot of money; want to have someone to turn to for advice?
If so, FOOD UP FRONT 2013 could help You!
We are planning to hold a regular series of “Pop –Up” events in various parts of town. We will be offering: small amounts of seeds, growing advice, recycled containers in which to grow seasonal vegetables, recipes.
February/March – potatoes / tomatoes
April – courgettes, squashes
May – runner and french beans
June – salads
July – spinach
August – pak choi / chard
In return we would welcome a small donation and feed-back on your growing and cooking experience. To take part please email Vicki
FOOD UP FRONT 2013 is a project of Transition Town Lewes Food Group.
EAT MORE SPUDS! Our latest local recipe booklet features potatoes, because unlike hard wheat and rice, they grow here, in our gardens, on the allotment and in the fields. Recipes include potato and garlic soup, gnocchi and much more. Click here to download a copy.
GET INVOLVED! We welcome new members and will give support and feedback if you have a project you want to develop – contact Eileen Bull. We are exploring future project ideas.
Local food to look forward to.
Lewes Shop Local Eat Local Questionnaire
Full results of the Lewes Shop Local Eat Local questionnaire are available. There is a five-page summary with charts, and an appendix with all the individual responses (with personal details removed). Printed copies of the main report will be available also, and distributed to shops, stallholders and some others.
Thanks very much to all the organisations and individuals who helped to distribute the questionnaire, and everyone who took part. Some really interesting ideas emerged. The Food Group will be in touch with everyone who wanted to help promote local food and local independent shops and markets. Click here to link to Where To Buy for local sources of basic food items. Contact: Ann Link
More about the Food Group…
Who we are
We’re a group of local people who feel passionate about food. We’re also concerned about climate change and peak oil. We want to find ways to make sure Lewes can feed itself in future – in a way that reduces carbon emissions and uses less energy.
What are we aiming to do?
Support Lewes in making the change to a low carbon, low energy future at every stage of the food cycle. We believe this means thinking about how to:
– farm organically to minimise use of oil – based fertilisers
– transport and sell food in a way that reduces carbon emissions
– encourage people to buy local food, cook their own food and not throw good food away
– make sure everyone gets access to a healthy diet.
Growing local produce.
How are we doing this?
We have started some local projects to get lots of people thinking about these ideas and to start making changes themselves. Some of these have been pilot schemes while other projects are ongoing.
PROJECTS AND EVENTS
Our pride and joy is the Lewes Food Market which opened during July 2010 and was a way of putting some of the groups’ aims into practical actions: supporting local producers, cutting carbon emissions in food production and transport, as well as making fresh produce available on a weekly basis. Based right in the centre of town (in the old Market Tower) every Friday morning, it gathers together the best of local food and produce from a 30 mile radius around Lewes.
The weekly market is run as a social enterprise by a new Lewes company, Lewes Local C.I.C.[ Community Interest Company] which employs a market manager and is very proving popular with local people.
Beautiful redcurrants, summer fruits and broad beans.
Food Up Front encouraged householders to grow food in small areas from balconies to window boxes – no space is too small. We produced full instructions for beginners about how to grow in containers. We are not running Food Up Front in 2012 but are still happy to advise on food growing in gardens and small spaces. Tel. 475 521 or email Vicki
Fish for the Future – We organised a delicious fish supper at Pelham House followed by a screening of ‘End of the Line’. It was a real wake-up call for the 90 people who came along and they left vowing to cut their fish consumption and always question the provenance of the fish they do consume. Eat local and seasonal food is the overriding message – as always.
Local Food for Lewes – With rising food prices and predicted food shortages we all need to plan for the future. Patrick Holden of the Soil Association came to Lewes to talk about building resilience into our lives. Almost 100 people (including a number of local farmers) attended the event and lively discussions continued late into the evening.
Garden Buddies – we set up a group (including a Google Group) for people to visit gardens and support each other to grow food. It is not active now, but could be reinstated if some else would like to run it.
It’s a day to find seeds, friendly advice, inspiration and hot soup on a cold day! There was a chutney competition with the legendary Marguerite Patten as judge plus workshops, talks, stalls and yummy local food. We helped Lewes District Council organise the event for the third year running.
East Sussex Local Food Action Plan – we are involved along with many other groups with this practical plan, which is part of the Environment Strategy. Contact: Ann Link for more information.
And for the future climate change, government policies and peak oil shortages all continue to present new challenges. The Food Group will continue to look at ways forward to a sustainable food supply for the Lewes area using practical and engaging solutions. Join us!
Contact: Eileen Bull
Other local food related projects and groups:
Sussex Community Seed Bank: contact Bernard McDonagh firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 07530324296
Lewes Residents Landshare
Ringmer Community Orchard
Lewes Arboretum and fruit tree mapping
Transition project on emergency food storage in SE England see Resilient Food Storage