Ian has been involved in visiting as part of Gibside Community Farm fact finding mission. Gibside Community Farm (gibsidecommunityfarm.co.uk/), North East Organic Growers (www.neog.org.uk/) and Go Local Food did a round of visits to each other’s growing sites.
Both Go Local Food and Gibside Community Farm are schemes which involve growing crops for members who pay for a regular share of what is being grown and who have a say in what is planted. North East Organic Growers is purely a vegetable box scheme which delivers to local collection points rather than to the door like Riverford Organic Farmers and is not totally dependent on the crops that they grow on site. They are prepared to buy in when necessary as Go Local Food has to do sometimes in the hungry gap.
Gibside Community Farm is higher up in altitude than Go Local Food so really can’t manage poly tunnels due to the wind and more exposed site. However as it’s cooler up there, they have had a more successful season than we have with growing onions (ours suffered badly with the early heat wave causing them to go to seed – that seems to have affected lower sited home and allotment growers locally too).
Go Local Food has the advantage over Gibside of being able to prolong our growing season with the use of our poly tunnels.
It is always good to see what other “local” organic growers do as it enables us to share, learn and generally pick each others’ brains. It’s also encouraging to feel that we are not a solitary community growing scheme but part of a larger network with the same ideals and aims (growing local food for local consumers).