We spoke to them about their inspiring work connecting communities through nature and food growing around Greater Manchester and their exciting purchase of a farm cooperative.
Creating thriving community enterprises
The Kindling Trust have been working to transform the local food systems within Manchester for over a decade, with many successful projects being carried out across the city. They run a thriving growing space in Stockport (Woodbank Community Food Hub) - designed to engage the local community - where they offer people a space to learn how to grow food, as well as hosting a huge array of fantastic community events, from bonfire cooking nights, to bat walks, to fermentation workshops. They run a FarmStart programme on this site to train up a new generation of regenerative farmers and growers, and offer other accredited courses on growing food too. In 2015 they set up their sister organisation, Veg Box People, to increase access to organic produce in the city centre - they continue to deliver veg boxes of fresh, locally sourced, and delicious produce to over 400 people across Manchester.
Supporting an agroforestry movement
During the spring and summer of 2021, the agroforestry team at Kindling worked with local communities around Manchester to graft 12,000 heritage fruit trees. Half of these trees are destined for the farm itself, and will become part of the agroforestry system there, with crops growing between rows of trees to create a symbiotic relationship between the plants. The other half of the trees have been donated to community growing projects across the North West, with many going to the hundreds of volunteers who helped to graft them.
Developing a model farm
Building on 14 years of experience in establishing and running practical food and farming initiatives, they are at the next stage of a long-term plan to create a fairer and more sustainable food system for all: Kindling Farm.
Kindling Farm is a 77 acre farm between Manchester and Liverpool, purchased by the organisation earlier this year after a successful community shares campaign that has raised over £1m with 600+ investors. Kindling Farm is a cooperative with members who meet every year to decide how to run the farm - it is direct democracy in action. Until the 1st July this year, they are running another community shares campaign to welcome more members to join this fantastic initiative.
Through Kindling Farm they will increase access to healthy sustainable fruit and vegetables for communities, provide training and support for new and existing farmers, use the most wildlife- and climate-friendly farming techniques, and, crucially, create a space for communities to engage in sustainable food and farming in ways that are useful and relevant to them.
“I got involved in Kindling Trust because we need farms like this all over the country, to directly challenge the exploitative parts of our food system and bring power back to our communities, to create more resilience in food and farming communities, and to give people space to learn.” - Lizzy Haughton, Kindling Trust
To find out more about how you can become a member and invest in the future of food and farming, head to https://www.ethex.org.uk/invest/kindling-farm-2
Kindling Trust is taking part in Eating Better alliance member LEAF’s Open Farm Sunday. On 11th June 2023 this annual farm open day gives visitors the opportunity to learn more about farming and the countryside. Learn more about Open Farm Sunday and visit a local farm!