Our VISIONARY team at University of Exeter (UK) is collaborating with Tamar Grow Local (TGL), a ‘not-for-profit’ Community Interest Company (CIC), to conduct research on the role of local food in promoting sustainability. TGL operates in the Tamar Valley, an area of outstanding natural beauty in the Southwest of England that is home to many farms that produce a variety of crops and livestock.
TGL’s Tamar Valley Food Hubs is an online farmers’ market, connecting local farmers with consumers in the area. This initiative plays a crucial role in developing a local food system that significantly reduces the distance food travels. Minimizing food miles helps to reduce carbon footprint, while providing consumers with fresher and more nutritious food. Further, the emphasis on small-scale local production also helps prevent wastage through overproduction. Supporting local produce directly contributes to the growth of local businesses, stimulates employment opportunities, and fosters economic circulation within the community. Additionally, personal contact with a local producer can provide a real understanding of how your food is grown or processed.
To support the growth of the local food system, TGL has introduced the “Farmstart” project, catering to new growers seeking access to land parcels ranging from ½ to 1 acre to launch their fruit, vegetable, and flower growing businesses. TGL not only provides the necessary land but also offers continuous support, training, and advice throughout the process. Moreover, TGL offers a free business-focused training program for new entrants, which includes personalized support, online training modules, peer-to-peer assistance, site visits, and guidance on pitching to potential funders and landowners.
Another notable project by TGL is “Grow Share Cook”, which aims to enhance healthy eating and cookery skills among households experiencing food insecurity and those with lower incomes in Plymouth. Through a partnership with Plymouth Community Homes, TGL supplies fortnightly bags containing five different seasonal fruits and vegetables sourced directly from growers and community growing projects in the Tamar Valley and Plymouth. The project also provides volunteer opportunities for individuals to participate in food production and the delivery of these bags.
Our first SPI workshop will be held in the Tamar Valley on the 6th of July, 2023. Stay Tuned!