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FEEDBACK: GLEANING NETWORK

FEEDBACK: GLEANING NETWORK

Food production is the single biggest impact humans have had on the world’s natural environment, and yet, one third of food is wasted - enough to feed three billion people. As shocking as this is, it also presents a huge opportunity. Tackling food waste is one of the most effective ways to address climate change and environmental degradation at its root cause, whilst increasing food availability where needed most.

Founded in 2009, Feedback specialises in exposing the hidden causes of food waste at every level of the food system and bringing people together to find solutions. With a track record in changing the policies of the world's biggest food companies and reaching out to millions of people through our fun, celebratory projects, our innovative campaigning style has elevated food waste from a non-issue several years ago to one now recognized as an urgent international priority.

Gleaning Network - Feedback - A Team Foundation

The majority of food waste is hidden from the public eye. It arises in the supply chains of supermarkets who cancel orders from farmers at the last minute and reject fruit and vegetables that do not fit strict size, shape or colour criteria. Cosmetic rejections can be up to 40% of a farmer’s crop. We set up Gleaning Network UK to address this: coordinating volunteers, farmers and charities to harvest nutritious and delicious ‘imperfect’ produce that would otherwise be wasted on UK farms, and directing it to people in need. We also engage with decision-makers in business and government to improve the policies and practices that cause this waste.

From the start of Gleaning Network UK in 2012 to the end of 2016, we have held 154 gleaning days. More than 1,500 volunteers have joined us in the fields to save 288 tonnes of fresh fruit and vegetables from going to waste - over 3 million portions of food. We now operate from six regional Gleaning Hubs and have proliferated the spread of gleaning across Europe. Media attention has sky-rocketed - we’ve featured in the likes of the Guardian, Independent on Sunday, and on prime-time television with both Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (Channel 4’s ‘Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast’ and BBC One’s ‘Hugh’s War on Waste’).

Vera, our Sussex Gleaning Coordinator says: “Gleaning days bring people together to do something positive, refreshing and beneficial to the thousands of individuals and families suffering in our communities. From the stories I hear, it’s clear that these gleans offer a sense of satisfaction, friendships, belonging and a free bag of food- which for many can go a long way! This work is vital, because it brings fresh food to those who need it most, but even more importantly because it provides the glue to keep our communities together and thriving.”

To find out more, and hear how to get involved, view this TEDx talk by Feedback’s Gleaning Coordinator Martin Bowman. It’s packed full of puns and quirky anecdotes - including why he once had over 200kg of parsnips in his bedroom.

Through the Gleaning Network EU project, we aim to continually build a coalition of gleaning movements across Europe. Already this network includes partner organisations in Belgium, France, Greece and Spain; we hope other European countries will join us soon. Click here to read more about Gleaning Network EU.

Feedback - Gleaning - A Team Foundation
Feedback Logo - A Team Foundation

Community Supported Agriculture

Community Supported Agriculture

 

The CSA Network UK is the only organisation working solely to promote community supported agriculture (CSA) across the UK and to support CSA farms. Community supported agriculture is a partnership between farmers and consumers in which the responsibilities, risks and rewards of farming are shared. Thanks to funding from the A Team Foundation and money raised via a crowdfunding campaign, and with the support of the Soil Association, the CSA Network UK was launched in December 2013.

CSA - COMMUNITY SUPPORTED AGRICULTURE - A TEAM FOUNDATION

Since April 2015 we have been completely independent with our own project co-ordinator and we also secured core funding from the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation. Over the last two years we have greatly expanded our activities and impact and have seen the CSA movement continue to grow.

We have increased our membership to 45 CSA farms from 26 when we first set up. There have also been a number of new CSAs setting up over the last two years.  This includes:  Steepholding in Devon, Wild Roots Veg in Sussex,  Waterland Organics in Cambridgeshire, Plotgate CSA in Somerset,  Forest & Folk Community Supported Herbalism in Milton Keynes, Chadlington Kitchen Garden in Oxfordshire,  Frith Farm in Yorkshire, Southern Roots Organics in Dorset, Transition Turriefield, Tap O Noth Permaculture and Tomnah'a Market Garden in Scotland, and Gerlan Bach, Torth y Tir, and Old Lands CSA in Wales.

We have set up a mentoring programme for new and existing CSAs, which we are able to provide at a subsidised rate thanks to funding from the Awards for All programme. We have already had great feedback from participants for example Plotgate CSA said the mentoring was incredibly useful and they would thoroughly recommend the service to other CSAs.

We organised a national CSA Network UK Open Day on 1 October 2016 when CSA farms around the country organised public events to help raise awareness of what community supported agriculture is all about. Around 35 farms took part and organised fun activities, such as squash harvesting, raspberry picking, apple pressing, pig feeding, bring a dish meals, farm tours and lots more. We will be running the event again this year and have already received a grant from Celebrate Wales to enable us to give a bursary to CSA farms in Wales that are taking part.

We held CSA networking and training events all over the country including events at Whitmuir Community Farm near Edinburgh, Canalside Community Food near Leamington Spa, Fork & Dig It in Brighton, Sims Hill in Bristol, and Five Acre Farm in Coventry.

We have also just organised a national CSA Sign Up Day on 1 March 2017. This is based on the successful CSA Day run by Small Farm Central in the US. This was a day to promote CSA farms across the country and get new members to sign up at the start of the season when farms need support most. We have not evaluated the day yet but we had lots of great publicity and Camel CSA said they recruited at least 10 new members on top of their existing 40 members.

Overall we are very pleased with our progress, although in order to be sustainable in the long term the network still relies on our income from individual supporters, as well as our farm members. So if you would like to help support the growth of CSAs in the UK and promote a fairer, more transparent model of food production please join us: 

https://communitysupportedagriculture.org.uk/join-csa-network/

CSA - COMMUNITY SUPPORTED AGRICULTURE - A TEAM FOUNDATION