Excellence in small scale, local, sustainable growing takes many forms but there are few better exemplars of variety x quality x yield than at GO Local Food – belying the fact that it’s up near Newcastle where the north winds can certainly blow!
Go Local was set up by the residents of the village of Ovingham who, some six years ago, created a member owned co-operative to produce fresh vegetables and salads locally, sustainably and with sound provenance. On leasing an acre of land at a garden centre in nearby Ovington, horizons were broadened beyond Ovingham village to encompass residents in the surrounding area and ‘GO Ovingham’ became GO Local Food. Its set up as a crop share with members paying up front for a share of the subsequent produce through the ensuing 12 months.
Growing is overseen by two employed growers – Ian and Sean – who with the help of a few poly tunnels manage to cajole the now 2 acres of land to produce an amazing array of crops from chillies to parsnips, and peas to butternut squash. The variety though is more than matched by quality and quantity – a true testament to skills of these two gentlemen, with the support of some hard working volunteer members who by deed of their stint on the land receive a weekly share of the crop at reduced subscription.
The underlying aim is to reconnect the local community with the food they eat and the land on which it is grown. As such its more than just fruit and vegetables, with GO Local Food holding events such as cookery workshops, Summer barbecue, picnics, the annual scarecrow competition, Growers Question Time and the Harvest Supper & Halloween Quiz night. But the best tribute I can pay is a few simple pictures of Ian (Sean wasn’t in the day I was there) in an amongst those lovely fruit and veg – with the odd helping hand making a brief appearance!
For more on GO Local see the report on my earlier visit as spring was just starting to burst. Also links there to the Go Local website and blog.
[Double clicking on any of the images below will open up that image up in a slideshow format. You can then run the slide show using ‘left’ and ‘right’ buttons. Personally I prefer to go also to full screen having opened the slide show – F11 on my PC, don’t forget to get out of full screen is the same button , not ESC!]