FoodFutures coordinator, Anna Clayton, pulls together reflections from 2024’s spring into action events whilst also sharing plans for the future.

North Lancashire’s Silver Celebration and Spring Into Action week of events saw more than 300 people come together to celebrate our region’s Silver Sustainable Food Places Award.

“I was blown away by the scale of what has been achieved” commented Chris Coates, LESS co-founder and Director.

Beccy Whittle, Community Food Skills working group coordinator, reflected: It felt very special and spring like with it sparking a lot of energy and enthusiasm. The Silver Celebration had a beautiful sunset and felt like a nice culmination of everyone’s work whilst getting people inspired and enthused”.

I met some new people and got to discuss ideas with Leon Balin, the national Sustainable Food Places coordinator and Caroline Jackson, Deputy Leader of Lancaster City Council. Also, the food was absolutely excellent”. Dusty Thomas, Lancaster District Food Justice Partnership.

Celebrating the role of everyone…

To mark this special occasion and the culmination of five years of work, Sarah Hymas wrote ‘The Alchemists of North Lancashire: In Their Own Words’; a poem that tried to capture the energy of North Lancashire’s emerging food projects and networks.Filberts created a seasonal rhubarb and magnolia petal cake and Charlotte Done from the Good Things Collective created a piece of artwork to say thank you to the many people and organisations that have contributed to the Silver Award. Thank you!

FoodFutures compiled a photo slide show to visualise all the stuff that is going on, and pulled together the Spring Into Action program of 14 events that were hosted by different people, projects and organisations.

Rachel Marshall, Closing Loops Project Coordinator and an Eggcup Trustee commented:

It felt special to turn up to a celebration of what we have done together. A real mixture of people joined in and it was so great, to see a kale farmer sat next to a conservation grazier and food club member for example. And people also weren’t there! I liked how the poem saw Sarah go out and meet groups, make new connection and have some really nice conversations. And the events afterwards had a really good energy.”

Not only did these festivities bring a diversity of people together to celebrate, to share learnings and build new connections and ideas, but they involved lots of practical activities too: fermenting, mushroom growing, foraging, composting, garden designing, skill sharing, gaming and strategising. These activities have not only sparked action, but have sown seeds that will hopefully emerge with time as new collaborations, projects, activities and pollinator friendly flowers!

Just as an example, 30kg of surplus Mooli have since been shared by Libby Flintoff Organics with local projects Global Link and Claver Hill. These have been transformed into kimchi and tried, in many cases for the first time, in a variety of different recipes.

Event organisers gained an understanding of what was enjoyed and ideas for improving events and workshops going forward. Where events sold out (e.g. foraging, preserving and mushroom growing), there are now plans to run these on a more regular basis and in partnership.

We are so lucky to have such experts in fermenting, mushroom growing, sprouting & healthy cooking available, all committed to sustainable food practices, healthy living and zero waste, and keen to share their skills with others”. Workshop attendee.

Creative and grounded, fun and connected. It’s so nice to have space to hang out with the people you like and meet more people.” Ellen Pearce, Plot, Food Hub and Northern Real Farming Conference Coordinator.

The week also galvanised support for Going For Gold, with all FoodFutures working groups and poll results saying: Let’s work towards a Sustainable Food Places Gold Award, but let’s do the work anyway! Some pledges to support this work were shared leading up to and during the week which FoodFutures will share and build on in the year ahead.

The breadth of stuff that goes on is amazing, it’s inspirational. The energy created during the week is probably more than we put in and this makes me more confident about going for gold. The energy in the Silver Celebration room felt ready for it! I look forward to seeing what comes out with time”. Jamie Murphy, Community Connector at Lancaster City Council and FoodFutures partnership chair.

For me the celebration showed how we are stronger together than the sum of all our parts”. Fariha Blockley, FoodFutures Network Builder.

 

 

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