Changing the food system

First organic crops harvested for Manchester Restaurants by Farmstart

MVP logo greenIn the in the midst of yet another bad start to the growing season, growers from Farmstart, an incubator project for new organic farmers in Greater Manchester last week harvested their very first crops for sale through Manchester Veg People!

It is interesting and heartening that at a time when farmers are saying that their crops are already 30% lower than expected, new growers are popping up around Greater Manchester and joining the Manchester food revolution.

Set up just 18 months ago by a group of organic growers and buyers in Greater Manchester who wanted to try and find a collaborative solution to some of the barriers to farming sustainably, Manchester Veg People supports local growers by providing them with a new and expanding market for their produce and with a direct link to their buyers through the co-op. In its first year the co-op enabled the sale of fresh local produce with a value of £22,000, all done using borrowed vehicles, storage and office space.

Both FarmStart and Manchester Veg People are linking projects set up by the Kindling Trust which supports local sustainable growing, the pioneering Manchester Veg People model sees growers and buyers as members of the co-op, working together to co-ordinate supply and demand, reducing the risk for the growers and crucially paying a fair price to growers for their produce.

Talking about how Manchester Veg People aids new growers FarmStarter Lisa said; ‘The idea of selling up and buying a small holding had been a dream for a long time and we wanted some land so we could see whether it was really for us. Looking for a piece of land and knowing what was right and where to look seemed a huge step in itself. The FarmStart project and Manchester Veg People gave us the confidence to think this was a possibility, by giving us access to, land, support, tools advice and a route to market. Making all those contacts and gathering all that knowledge yourself on top of growing/sustaining a piece of land would have seemed too enormous a task without their support.’

Manchester Veg People are a unique organisation and are already being held up as an example of good practice and a model for the future of sustainable growing Speaking to great acclaim and applause at this years’ Oxford Real Farming conference.

The world (or a small part of it – including lots of growers with their fingers crossed!), are waiting to see whether this pioneering and fairer model of trading food can work.

We believe it can – but we need your support to grow the business. Please support Manchester Veg People's crowd funding campaign

Manchester Veg People is a unique multi-stakeholder co-operative of local organic growers and buyers who are working together to help develop a new model for the local food supply chain.

They want to increase access to local produce, at the same time as creating a larger and much more stable market for the growers’ produce.

Manchester Veg People only sell local, seasonal produce. All our produce is sourced from within 50 miles of Manchester city centre and is picked to order for our buyers the day before delivery.

Because they're a co-op growers are better able to work together to ensure the greatest range of produce for customers, as well as share knowledge, skills and resources; and buyers and growers can co-ordinate supply and demand locally, minimising waste, strengthening trust and understanding, and eliminating much of the risk for growers.

And on top of all that they are committed to developing a pricing structure that is based on the actual cost of production for our veg, ensuring that out growers always receive a fair price for their produce and are not pressured to accept less than what their produce is worth.

A list of members of the co-op can be found at

FarmStart is an incubator farm for new growers, set up by the Kindling Trust. Based at Abbey Lays Farm 15 miles SW of Mancehster, the project allows would be growers to trial their farming business ideas in a low-risk setting. As FarmStart members they benefit from access to certified organic land, on-going training and mentoring, market access and peer support, and crucially a ready market paying fair prices.

This gives new growers a chance to see if farming suits them, and to put their ideas to the test, with the confidence that there is an established network in place to sell their produce through.

Manchester Veg People

07511 554 353

Twitter: @mancvegpeople

Facebook: /ManchesterVegPeople

Full details of the campaign can be found here:

The campaign will run from Saturday 8th June – Sat 20th July

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