Kindling Trust is first out of the blocks with answers to the 11 questions that Manchester Climate Monthly has sent to a bunch of environmental groups (It’s also open to individuals…).
1. What is the purpose of your group? (three or four sentences)
We work with communities, farmers, practitioners, activists, and policy makers to create a more just and ecologically sustainable society.
We do this in a number of ways including projects like the Land Army that supports volunteers to work on local organic farms, FarmStart: a fledgling programme of support to support new people into farming and Veg Box People: a new veg box scheme.
2. How do you find out what skills and knowledge the people who get involved have?
When people join the land army or wish to become a volunteer with our other projects or help out in the office we offer a staged process to enable the individual to get to know us whilst we both see if we are a good match!
After people have been with us for a specific amount of time we sit down with them and carry out a structured interview based around a questionnaire about their skills, knowledge aspirations and training needs.
3. How do you find out what skills and knowledge the people who get involved want to develop?
Part of our volunteer programme we ask each volunteer, who has been with us for a few weeks, to complete a questionnaire with us, to ensure we match our needs with a volunteers aspirations. If anyone would like this form please do get in touch.
4. If people get involved in your group, what sorts of things will they end up doing? (stuffing envelopes, selling newspapers, knocking on doors, getting arrested etc etc)
People can get involved in a range of activities and roles. We have a place for people of all abilities and ambitions. From helping out on the farms to helping write for our website sites. From researching progressive farming techniques to helping sell veg at our market stall. We have indoor and outdoor tasks, practical and office based activities.
Successes and “opportunities for improvement”* in 2015.
5. What have been your group’s main Manchester-based successes in the past year? (i.e. nothing that took place outside the ring road counts)
Over the last year we have had one of our most successful periods: we have grown and strengthened as a group and are about to enter 2016, excited about the opportunities which have been presented to us.
The main successes for 2015 were:
FarmStart Woodbank – we with our partners, including Stockport Council and Glebelands City Growers have taken on the old nursery at Woodbank Park in Stockport as Greater Manchester’s newest commercial food growing centre. The site has huge potential to greatly increase urban food production and provide fantatsic trainign and learning facilities. (http://kindling.org.uk/FarmStart)
Feeding Stockport continues to explore opportunities to turn Stockport into a Sustainable Food City with us working hard to establish a Food Enterprise Centre, supply organic food to Stepping Hill Hospital and local schools (feedingstockport.org.uk)
A Right to Good Food: In November with Church Action on Poverty we helped engage a range of groups from across the Northwest of England in a new Food and Poverty campaign. Eighty people attended and in February we will holding the next event to plan the campaign’s next steps. (feedingManchester.org.uk)
A big personal achievement for the team – because we have been trying for so long to engage schools in our work- was the recruitment of Stockport’s Preistnall School to purchase local organic veg from our farmers with the help of the school’s pupils and staff. (kindling.org.uk/Priestnall_launch)
Finally our launch of Veg Box People at the University of Manchester has gone well with us providing ~60 customers a week with local organic veg and we have big plans to offer the service across other parts of the campus. (vegboxpeople.org.uk)
6. What were the things you hoped to achieve but didn’t.
Every year, when we look back on the things we’d have hoped to achieve is the ambition of engaging the public sector more in the purchase of local organic food. But we are an impatient bunch!
The other thing we’d hoped to do was to update the Greater Manchester Sustainable Food Strategy. We had promised to update it in the summer after it was written in 2014 with the help of 100 individuals and groups. However, because of lack of time and a noticeable lack of interest from our politicians we have decided to update in in the summer of 2016. You can find Greater Manchester’s Sustainable Food Strategy at: http://feedingmanchester.org.uk/GMSusFoodStrategy
The coming year
7. What do you hope to achieve in 2016? What are your success metrics for December 31st 2016.
We don’t have metrics as such, we aren’t really funded to engage this many volunteers or create this many jobs for example. We are very lucky in this respect – we can experiment, take risks, and inevitably get things wrong
But our strategy does state what a successful year would look like to us. We would hope by the end of 2016, we will have our largest land army yet, greatly improved our FarmStart programme and be ready to launch our community shares campaign to help us by a large farm for Greater Manchester.
We look forward to you asking us about our year in December 😉
8. What (up to 3) things would you like do see done in Manchester to make the city less crap on climate action
a) by the City Council
We stopped working with Manchester City Council many years ago. We realised that we could achieve a lot more and have happier staff if we worked with different local authorities and large public institutions. Working with bodies who have the political will to address climate change is crucial and this is the one thing MCC needs to do: have the political will.
b) by the “climate movement”
Work together, build on each others strengths, plan and stick to the plan(s).
9. What is the stupidest thing the “climate movement” could do this year?
Carry on as normal. We can’t afford to have the same people doing the same things, because its clearly not working. We need to have the courage to think afresh about our own roles, question our motivations and encourage new and different people to try different approaches.
10. How can people get involved?
If you’d like to get physically involved in our work ring us on 0161 226 2242 or email Corrina: firstname.lastname@example.org
But you can also help from afar: like and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, instagram or LinkedIn, just search for ‘Kindling Trust’.
11. Anything else you’d like to say.
Thanks for asking and we’d love to tell you more about our 2016 plans.