Thursday, 25 October 2012

Inspired by the BBC Radio Food & Farming Awards

I’m always glad that my diary is the occasional diary.  I’ve been so busy the past few weeks that I just have not had the time to sit and write. My brain is full.  Writing is really my brain dump, and like writing a diary I mostly find myself writing at night.  I have twenty-seven years worth of diaries before I started blogging, and I often wonder if blogging is simply really the modern mans diary?

The children have been playing with a box of dominos and I have been showing them how they can all stack in a line and the knock on effect of one action affecting everything else.  This idea has been haunting me most of my life.

It's believing in this concept of being able to do one good thing that then changes everything else that that has meant that I've joined the parish council. I don't think that I am particularly political about anything .. but perhaps I am.  I do feel strongly about community.  I have been my village since I was eleven and now as I am about to turn forty there are a couple of things that really bother me.  The first is the speed at which the cars drive through.  It’s a short cut and the way to the local college.  Someone has to do something about it or I am quite certain something awful will happen.  I am too afraid to let my children walk out in the village because of the speed of the traffic. I’ve been thinking that for years.  In the end I guess nothing happens just waiting around for someone to do something about it and so when I was chatting with our new parish chair and she agreed with my concerns I was filled with hope that things might change. Before I had time to stop my mouth from speaking the words I found myself volunteering to help.  You may now call me councilor Kimbell. *laughing as I type.

Melton Mowbray Farmers Market
I mentioned two things that have landed me in local government…   the second issue means more to me. As a village we have lost two of our focal points in recent years.  There is no village shop anymore and sadly our post office was closed.  When I was little people would stop and chat outside the shop and the cars would drive slowly. 

I’m not is a position to reopen the shop, although running a weekly pop up bakery I must say the thought has actually crossed my mind when I see everyone chatting and laughing.

It was as I was listening to The BBC Radio Four Food Program that I had a light bulb moment.   I realized that the community that the awards celebrate could be recreated in our village. I love farmers markets and my mum has been going to the Melton Mowbray market for as long as I can remember. I love buying my chickens there.  So I was really delighted that the farmers market has been short listed to the final three for an award.  Food brings everyone together and we are still a largely rural and farming community after all, so the idea of having our own market was really well received .. and we are going for it.  

There have been a few set backs and we have some more meetings to decide dates and format and details .. and a few more things to sort out .. but the idea itself is alive and everyone is excited. We’ve got the location sorted in principle. All the money raised will be put back into out local charities.  I am both thrilled and nervous.  I am thrilled that it looks as though it may really happen .. but there is lots of work to do first.  I am quite nervous and hope that people will come along and make it buzz. 

 People chat, laugh, talk about life and buy wonderful seasonal local produce.   
Well I am never one to just leave things to chance I wanted to know what makes a really great market.  I went along to the Melton Mowbray Market to find out and collected some interviews for the BBC Northampton Kitchen Garden show. There were a few surprised faces as people I have known a long time were fascinated as I pulled out my microphone to interview them.  One chap who I've been buying sausages off for years and years kept say well I never  .. well I never ... !  In the meantime I have to share the audio of one particular lady chatting below because she really summed up what makes a great market and you can really understand why Melton Mowbray has been shortlisted for the awards.

I came away from the market even more determined that we shall create a wonderful place in our village.  A space where people can chat, laugh, talk about life and buy wonderful seasonal local produce.  Life is about sharing. 

This morning as I was thinking about writing this post I was tidying up the dominos wondering about how things happen. I was thinking that The BBC Radio Four Food and Farming Awards are actually really amazing.  This programme has the effect of that first domino.  It inspires …  and I wonder just how many other people must also have listened to those stories of real people and decided that they too can make difference?

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  1. Yay Vanessa, if anyone can get a market going you can. It's a wonderful idea - you already have a good start with your bakery customers. I expect it will be tough though. I think the key is to really get local people involved as much as possible so they feel they have some sort of ownership of the market and will therefore want to support it. We've had too many markets come and go in our market town and this may be one of the reasons.

    We're a Portas town and one of Mary's ideas to get some sort of town "ownership" is to have a DIY, paint and gardening job done on the town by the town people. That's what I shall be doing this weekend and I'm hoping there will be a good turnout. Not that I'm suggesting you do that, but local community will only thrive if people get involved in some way.

  2. You are right. I realised that it is the people that take part and get involved that make it happen .. much more so than just myself and the other organisers. I picked up this involvement as I interviewed people ... Good luck with the DIY .. great idea.

  3. It's so enjoyable reading someone write so passionately about something. I was a bit of a Navy brat and moved a lot as a child and have settled with my partner in a little village in the New Forest. I love the idea of community and I hope that living here will help me experience that. I also feel really strongly about good local food and I love farmers markets. I wish there were more ways to find out about, and get involved in, things like that happening near where I live. xo

    PS- Love all of the photos.

  4. That's a great idea - always needs someone to actually do it and inspire the rest of the people to get involved, or else they'll just carry on doing nothing and thinking "Why doesn't someone do something about that?" Well done on being that person...! And good luck!

  5. Good luck with your idea!
    I just wanted to say I loved your photos, they make me feel really happy, they are great!!

  6. I think the BBC Food and Farming Awards are important and give recognition to people who offer an alternative to the food chain peddled by big business and supermarkets. Good luck with being on the Parish Council and the new market.

  7. What a great post - I was all inspired just reading it. Good luck.

  8. excellent post.

    This is such a nationwide problem. Good luck with it all, I know you'll make a difference. x


If you are reading my blog I must warn you that I am not impartial. I want to influence you. I want to make you stop for just a moment and consider the effect of a lifetime of seemingly insignificant decisions and how making small delicious choices can change the world.

I believe that we can change the world one bite at a time.

It's a delicious revolution.