There are many inspiring stories of communities around the country taking control of their food and where it comes from. These three short films look at the work of pioneering community groups, from Manchester, Newcastle and East London.
The films were filmed, edited and produced by Mat McDonnell, a film maker with a special interest in sustainability challenges and solutions. For more examples of his work search Mat McD on http://vimeo.com/.
Organiclea is a workers’ co-operative which grows and sells food and supports others to do the same.
The group started on a small allotment and now has a 12-acre growing site, a community café, a market stall and a vegetable box scheme. It also runs training courses in food growing and cooking. The film looks at all the various aspects of Organiclea’s work and aims to encourage others to get involved or do the same.
As Ru Litherland, a grower at OrganicLea says in the film “Our role now is to support other people, because we’re going to need a lot more places like this.”
Manchester Veg People is a growers and buyers co-operative. The film features one of their growers, Moss Brook Growers, and one of their buyers, the University of Manchester. It also charts the critical role played by Unicorn Grocery and Kindling Trust in providing the environment and support for organisations like Manchester Veg People to develop.
As Helen Woodcock from the Kindling Trust says in the film “The potential for Manchester Veg People in the future is huge. Manchester Veg People is for everyone and if the public sector take it on then it will be.”
Food Chain North East based in north west Newcastle, supplies fresh and affordable fruit and vegetables to deprived and isolated communities. They supply dozens of outlets and food co-ops. They also grow food and train others to grow. Their aim is to address the health inequalities that persist in the places they work in, largely due to poor access to healthy food.
The film visits one of their outlets to see the impact of Food Chain’s work “You can’t really get fresh fruit and veg for miles around here,” says the volunteer running a market stall. The importance of Food Chain’s work is summed up by one of the customers at the market stall “There’s a lot of people who depend on it and are really grateful that it is here”.