5 questions to #Manchester #climate groups – Kindling Trust is first up… @kindlingtrust

Manchester Climate Monthly is asking various groups the same questions-

1. When was your group founded? What does it do/how does it do it?
2. What have been the group’s major successes and failures over the last year or so?
3. If people got involved in your group, what sorts of things would they find themselves doing?
4. What has your group got planned (and how might it contribute to maintaining morale and momentum in the climate movement in Manchester)
5. What would you like to see the “climate movement in Manchester” do more generally, both to maintain morale and momentum, but also to increase its effectiveness?

These seem to be somewhat important questions, and the answers will help everyone think through what happens (or doesn’t happen) next…

First up, Kindling Trust-
kindling
here’s their website.

 

1. When was your group founded? What does it do/how does it do it?

We were founded over ten years ago. We are a food sovereignty organisation focused on enterprising solutions which revolutionise whole food systems; from paying local organic farmers fairly, to supporting new growers, to volunteering on local farms, to supplying businesses with organic veg, and even running a veg box scheme.

We run various projects and enterprises along the food supply chain. We’ve set up a food network, Feeding Manchester, which connects consumers with eco-friendly businesses, events and workshops so that people are more connected with their food supply. We also facilitate Land Army trips to our farms for volunteers wanting to farm, grow and learn about organic food.

Beyond this, we have set up two co-operative enterprises; Manchester Veg People, which connects organic growers with businesses, and Veg Box People which distributes locally grown, organic veg to individuals and families across Manchester.

Our Farmstart program we run trains people to be commercial organic growers, supporting and guiding them to set up their own organic growing business when they finish. We also host graduates on our farms where possible.

But our focus this Autumn has been on establishing an agro-ecological farm for Greater Manchester, where we can demonstrate how sustainable farms on the outskirts of cities can help feed large urban populations healthily, whilst reducing our collective carbon emissions.

2. What have been the group’s major successes and failures over the last year or so?

The group’s major success has been Woodbank Community Food Hub in Stockport. The site has been used to train Farmstarters, host Land Army trips and community drop-in sessions, and to kickstart our ‘More than Medicine’ social-prescription courses. The hub is so successful that our sister co-op organisations even use it as a supplier.

We have hosted numerous events where individuals, either referred by a third-party service or dropping in, have helped plant, grow, harvest and cook the fruit and veg produced there. The Community Food Hub demonstrates our vision for food sovereignty in the future; commercial growers, merchants, locals and volunteers all working together in an organic food system.

Unfortunately, establishing successful referral systems with GP surgeries in Stockport has been more challenging than anticipated. The GP surgeries and healthcare professionals who we have engaged with have been supportive of our work, but this is yet to translate into a regular flow of referrals. We know that the busy nature of GP surgeries is one of the barriers to this, and we are currently reviewing our progress to look at how we can address this and increase the number of referrals to our project.

3. If people got involved in your group, what sorts of things would they find themselves doing?

We have a number of ways for people to get involved in the group’s work, and we always welcome extra hands! There are plenty of Land Army volunteering days to get stuck into; you’ll get the chance to help our Farmstarters out, learn about organic growing, and get an amazing meal made from the produce on-site, as well as tea and biscuits throughout the day! We also have workshops being hosted at Woodbank, you just book ahead for these on the website.

If you wanted to get involved in a slightly more formal capacity, you could organise a corporate volunteer day for your organisation to take part in, it really is an engaging and fun way of demonstrating corporate social responsibility. Similarly, we are always in need of volunteers at our Bridge 5 Mill office in Ancoats. Whether you’re a graphic designer, administration assistant, spreadsheet guru or copy writer, we welcome your support!

4. What has your group got planned (and how might it contribute to maintaining morale and momentum in the climate movement in Manchester)

The group is at a really pivotal stage right now, and we have a team working very hard on our Kindling Community Farm project. We are going to create a 200-acre, organic agroforestry farm which is integrated with, and actively supports, local social enterprises, change makers and activists. We are going to use the land in a way that supports biodiversity, local ecology and local communities, as well as build centres for social enterprises to work out of, and for activist organisations to use for events and workshops. We hope to maintain morale and momentum for the climate movement in Manchester by demonstrating how food and social systems can, and need to, integrate with one another for a sustainable future. The plans for the next few months are highly focused on securing funding for the farm, sharing our vision with our supporters, and getting ready to launch our Community Shares campaign, more information see our latest E bulletin:

https://kindling.org.uk/civicrm/mailing/view?reset=1&id=461&fbclid=IwAR3yfuykQlROgHF3HNtg2V2p7S7z1TNwu1Qs4OjSK5cqCBQF61McMKoZC1k

5. What would you like to see the “climate movement in Manchester” do more generally, both to maintain morale and momentum, but also to increase its effectiveness?

We think the most important thing for the climate movement in Manchester right now is collaboration. There are plenty of amazing organisations tackling the climate crisis in numerous ways, we just need to work together more now than ever! Morale is certainly being boosted by the abundance of community-led groups placing food sovereignty at the core of their projects, alongside the weekly climate strikes from activist school kids in Manchester, the ever-increasing Extinction Rebellion membership, and charities and social enterprises hosting numerous events, workshops and talks on how to tackle the climate crisis together. But we do think that in order to maintain momentum and increase effectiveness, we need to get non-activists on board with our movement too. We need to collaborate more with small local businesses, community groups and residents to make being climate-conscious as easy and accessible as possible, as well as with each other to share best practice and resources. We are really excited for the future of the climate movement in Manchester!

About manchesterclimatemonthly

Was print format from 2012 to 13. Now web only. All things climate and resilience in (Greater) Manchester.
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