It’s the time of year when the clock is ticking relentlessly towards the festivities and Christmas shopping lists are drawn up. Shops, Christmas markets and even online retailers are competing for our attention – and for our wallets – and many of us are enjoying the wintery atmosphere, twinkling lights around town, the first beautifully decorated trees and the general atmosphere of festive preparations.
But this year it’s also a time of year when many of us are feeling the pinch of the cost of living crisis. Colder temperatures bring up not just romantic associations of Christmas stockings, mulled drinks and cosy fires but also worries about the cost of heating. Are we going to be able to buy the Christmas presents we are used to? Can we afford to provide the festive celebrations and feasts that we might want to treat our friends and family to?
The FoodFutures seasonal Midwinter Market hopes to be a space where it’s time to forget about these worries just for a bit. While there will be many locally produced, seasonal goodies, arts and crafts for sale, it’s a welcoming space for anyone and everyone, Christmas shoppers as well as anyone just wanting to connect with their neighbours, have a good look around, enjoy the music or have a chat with one of several stalls run by community initiatives.
For example, the FoodFutures Closing Loops project team will be around, chatting to market visitors about ways they can get involved in the project, helping to create a regenerative economy in North Lancashire. For instance, joining a group of gleaning volunteers that go out harvesting surplus produce could be a perfect way to get outdoors, connect with others, beat the winter blues and take home some free vegetables to boot.
Of course, the market is also an opportunity to not just do your Christmas shopping but to make it count – by supporting local producers, makers and artisans, and by giving gifts that are different.
All stallholders are coming from within a 25-mile radius, most of them from much nearer. In addition to local produce, street food and roasted chestnuts there will be several crafts tents with handmade and recycled products. Maybe we can give a little less this year, but give something that has meaning and a local story behind its production? Something that has a smaller environmental impact and helps fight climate change?
The FoodFutures and Closing Loops team look forward to welcoming all residents and visitors of the region to the Midwinter Market in Lancaster’s centre on 16th December.