A big subject, but one that we can all influence according to Christine Hope, the enthusiastic and knowledgeable entrepreneur behind Hopes of Longtown, the village shop with big ambitions on the edge of the Black Mountains. Christine, like the members of the Ledbury Food Group, is passionate about our local produce and sees the diversity of delicious food in the area as a real asset when we consider the prosperity of our region.
But how do we make sure that everyone understands what threatens our rural economy and how important our farms, orchards and local companies are? Christine & Russ’s way was to hold a “transition dinner”. Inviting a mix of guests, all with an interest in the future of local farming, they wined and dined them with delicious local fare, directed the conversation towards the issues they felt needed airing (there were rules, number one being that only positive talk was allowed!). But this wasn’t just a talking shop. At the end of the evening, everyone was invited to make a pledge to do something that would have a positive effect – however small – on the future of local food.
Invited to make a similar pledge at the meeting held on Monday evening in the Burgage Hall in Ledbury and open to all, the audience thought hard about what they could do to spread the word, or encourage others to shop locally, or support local producers. One brave member decided she would hold our own transition dinner – so watch this space!
The talk was lively and entertaining, but also full of interesting ideas and a depth of knowledge that impressed us all. There were plenty of questions asked, including one about what would attract and keep young people into local food production. Given the energy and enthusiasm from the two young speakers, that would not seem to be such a problem. With the help of social media they are getting their message out, and finding a responsive audience – the future of local food may just be looking up.