An Oswestry based group of growers, farmers and food providers is forming an innovative collective to encourage people to buy food produced within five miles of the town.
Early contributors to the new Oswestry 5 Mile Food collective include the town’s community kitchen OsNosh, Bronygarth Orchard Garden, Treflach Farm, Honeysuckle wholesale co-operative and Good Pickings market garden. The collective aims to make local food more accessible and affordable for all.
Paul Newman from Be a Better Fish is bringing together the group and hopes that many more growers and food providers in the area will join the initiative.
Paul, who is also a director of the Shropshire Good Food Partnership, explained that within a five mile radius of Oswestry were almost 80 square miles of fields, farms, small holdings, allotments and gardens providing high quality home-grown ingredients for local homes, restaurants, cafes and retailers.
“It’s a celebration of local food and its many benefits. By forming a collective of local growers, farmers, food producers and providers, we want to engage the local community in supporting and taking pride in our local food,” he said.
One of the aims of the collective is to better connect local food producers with food retailers and restaurants, helping to improve regular and reliable supplies of seasonal crops. The collective includes OsNosh, which is leading efforts to make sure surplus produce ends up on local plates and not in landfill sites.
Paul said that using locally grown food had many benefits.
“It is likely to have been harvested within 24 hours of being sent to food providers, to have more nutritional value and doesn’t need the addition of preservatives and chemicals to prolong its shelf life.
“By shopping locally you keep money in your area, which helps to sustain local producers and create local jobs as well as protecting our long-term food security and reducing food miles and packaging.
“Local producers are also often keen to share their skills and green spaces with local residents, through community gardens, growing or cooking courses, healthy eating advice, and general wellbeing and connecting with nature activities.
“We would be delighted to hear from any other food producers or providers who would like to join this initiative,” said Paul.
The Oswestry 5 Mile Food collective will be showcasing its ideas with stalls and food tasting at several events in the area over the next few weeks. It will have a stall at Bronygarth Orchard Garden Makers Market in Weston Rhyn on Saturday May 21, Oswestry Town Centre Artisan and Garden Market on Friday 27 May and at the Treflach Buds of May Farmers Market on Sunday 29 May.
Further information is available by contacting Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul Newman (left) of Be A Better Fish with Yas and Joel of the Good Pickings market garden in Babbinswood.