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Sustain / Eat Somerset

Promoting fruit and vegetable production

During 2009, Sustain's Eat Somerset project is developing a proposal for work to increase fruit and vegetable growing in the West of England area (see map below for area boundary in red) for supply to reliable market outlets in the public sector. The proposal has been developed in partnership with four local authorities; growers; health authorities, schools and other relevant organisations in the area, who have all expressed their enthusiasm for and commitment to involvement in the project.

If you would like to get involved in this timely and important work, please contact Alison Belshaw at Eat Somerset: alison@sustainweb.org. Download a flyer with details of the project here [500 Kb PDF file]

Map of project area

The aim of the project is to increase fruit and vegetable growing in the West of England area for use by public sector caterers (schools, care homes, hospitals). We will work to:

  • Increase growing (amount of produce, land in production, and the number of people growing fruit and vegetables) with at least three significant existing growers;
  • Create market opportunities to facilitate at least four currently unmanaged orchards back into commercial production to supply the public sector;
  • Facilitate produce to public sector markets through a range of techniques including identifying markets; and developing and implementing a comprehensive plan of action with at least 20 schools;
  • Raise awareness of growing and sustainable local food issues through educational trips and community involvement with at least 10 participating schools and school communities;
  • Develop skills by providing mentoring and apprenticeship opportunities with existing growers to at least three new growers with the potential to grow to a significant level of production.

We will also:

  • Build lasting partnerships with local, regional and national organisations interested in healthy and sustainable food production and consumption; disseminate learning and good practice through this network; and by this means influence local policy makers to support similar work in future;
  • Contribute learning and inspiring case studies to the European Commission (who are already consulting Sustain and its members) to influence development of the new EU School Fruit Scheme, launched in 2008; with the possibility that similar work could receive EU support in future.

Eat Somerset: From 2006 to 2009 Sustain co-ordinated a food chain project in south west England that worked to increase trading between producer groups in and around Somerset and independent food retailers in the county, and create new markets in Bristol and Bath.

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Sustain advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, promote equity and enrich society and culture.

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