Things are going good*, we have had a good season and our members have received a good share of veg through the summer and into the autumn and the field and the room are packed with super vegetable goodness :-). So you can be safe in the knowledge that you will keep on getting a good deal in the months to come.
Midlands Today were angling for me to say our veg is very cheap. It is not necessarily much cheaper (averaged over 12 months) than you could buy elsewhere. I believe it is better i.e. tastier, fresher, more varied, safer (no chemicals), less harming of environment and people. We aim to give you good value for money as we pay no middle man but you are also paying your grower a living wage (£8.50 p/h) rather than the pittance that many agricultural workers get both here and abroad.
But look at it like this. £6 equates to about an hours work. That is not bad for a bag of veg, I challenge any of you to grow it for less time in your garden!! (which is the only way you can get equivalent veg in my opinion)
But enough about money. How are we really different from a “normal” veg box scheme.
Well for me it really is about the community. I want to take this opportunity to share with you some of the web of community that I see every day.
Veg and pick up
Because you have to come to the farm to pick up people meet each other and chat while gathering the veg, often the talk is about vegetables, the shared link, but also about family, friends, school, work, hobbies etc. My favourite thing to overhear is when someone says “..just let me know when and I’ll give you a hand with that”. So do break the ice when you are picking up – you never know where it may lead!
Our little library
In my life books come and go. Many return. By using our library we can share things that make us laugh, smile, think, learn, grow or just be entertained, so keep using it!
People volunteer for all sorts of reasons. The social side, the fresh air, the exercise, to feel valued, to give back, to learn, to teach, to get out of the house, to take their mind off things and many other reasons that are unique to each and every person.
By coming along to the field, helping on a stall, sharing your specialist skill, or doing some admin you are strengthening the fabric of the community. Sharing a little load, and all those little loads make the difference between a surviving community farm and a thriving one. In many ways that is what community is about – sharing the load just as we share the veg. And I do like how people seem to have as much fun as I do on the field!
Currently we have Richard, Jonathan, Julie, Gareth, Rachel and Nathan coming to the field week in week out in return for their share of the harvest. Their contribution has made this year possible (half of them are growers in their own right). But on top of that they all give me a regular lift with their enthusiasm, ideas, support and commitment to the farm.
The role of the Steering Group in the first place was to Make It Happen.
So however big or small our experience of the community at Five Acre we have this little group (Esther, Gareth, Guy, Jo, Joanna, Jonathan, Louise and Rachel) to thank for it.
We have had stacks of other visitors from school children to corporate volunteers to European visitors from similar projects, academics, and of course members mums, dads, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and friends. It is always lovely to show off what we do and you are always welcome to show your visitors around the field with or without a hoe in their hand – it is your farm after all and we should be shouting about it!
* this is high acclaim from someone from Yorkshire, normally the best you get is “not so bad”