Todmorden, Bruntsfield, Little Salkeld …. Local in Action

Many will know of the Incredible Edible Todmorden story – I mentioned Pam Warhurst’s presentation at Scotland’s Towns Conference a few posts ago – and some may have got involved in the Kickstarter crowdfunding of a book about their experiences, also mentioned here previously. Well, the target was met and the book is intended to be out in the Spring; I look forward to it.

Joanna Dobson, who drove the Kickstarter campaign, also runs a blog and it was on there that I read about the Real Seed Catalogue. Those who’ve seen my office this year will have noticed my chilli plants (it was hard not to!) – a good, if rather mild, crop from a south(ish) facing window. At home in the greenhouse we grew great tomatoes, some decently hot chillies and a few heritage black peppers brought back from the Mast General Store in Knoxville, Tennessee (there really should be a UK equivalent of Mast). The okra on the other hand was a complete failure. This year we’ll be trying some different tomatoes, chillies and peppers from the Real Seed Catalogue. It’s great that it’s only a few weeks from first planting.

We grow some of our own for our own use, but thinking about local food and community a la Todmorden, brought me via Twitter (and I am a convert, most of the time) to Dig-In Bruntsfield. Here in Edinburgh is an attempt to fund a community grocer placing food at the heart of this local community. They are in the funding stage and if you’re interested then take a look at their website and prospectus. There are others trying or already doing similar things and maybe there’s some local to you.

One of my other interests, also revealed here via 3D printing for my breadmaker, is in bread and flour and before that the (water) mills that produce local flour. On a number of occasions we’ve stopped off at the water mill at Little Salkeld in Cumbria to buy flour and to enjoy the cafe/tea room/shop. It’s a wonderful, enchanting, peaceful place with great food and flour. And the mill has been up for sale but is now in the early stages of possibly being bought by “the community”. You can find out more at the IPS website for the Watermill.  Volunteers with various skills are needed and people who want to support the initiative by buying shares when they become available (that’ll include me).

I don’t intend to labour the point about the links amongst these examples and ideas. Food obviously (and quality food at that), localism and local food, community, sharing, experiences and a belief in the ability of people to come together to produce something special, spring to mind.

And if all that food makes you hungry, there’s always the extreme crowdfunding example of Brewdog to help toast local food and local action. We need many more of these initiatives, opportunities and successes, in all shapes and sizes and involving all sorts of communities.

About Leigh Sparks

I am Professor of Retail Studies at the Institute for Retail Studies, University of Stirling, where I research and teach aspects of retailing and retail supply chains, alongside various colleagues. I am Chair of Scotland's Towns Partnership. I am also a Deputy Principal of the University, with responsibility for Education and Students and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh
This entry was posted in 3D Printing, Campaigns, Community Grocer, Crowdfunding, Food, Localisation, Places, Retail Diversity, Seeds, Water Mills and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Todmorden, Bruntsfield, Little Salkeld …. Local in Action

  1. Pingback: It’s Incredible | Stirlingretail

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  3. Simon Sandberg says:

    Really nice piece and lovely photos. Completely agree about localism and community.
    I was simultaneously intrigued about 3D printing for a bread maker (what does that entail?) and disappointed that you were not going the whole hog and making bread by hand. Us traditional artisanal folk down in the village of Battersea think you can’t get a decent crumb with a bread maker.
    Who would have thought all those years ago we would nearly all end up with allotments (even the boy Morris grows his own tomatoes and chillies).
    Very best Simon

  4. Leigh Sparks says:

    Simon, Thanks for the comment, even on a post from 2014! Our bread maker broke a small part and the only way to get a replacement was via a Dutch website which 3D print spare parts for machines. Worked well. We do make bread by hand but we vary between the machine and hand depending on how we are feeling and what flour we have to hand (check out Scotland the Bread, which I have also shared with Karen B). During the pandemic we have been getting flour from Blair Atholl Watermill and that has been great. As for allotments, if only, but our decline into gardening and food production seems to be complete. All the best

  5. Pingback: Locavore’s Bigger Plan | Stirlingretail

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