Portobello spends around £16 million each year on food and drink. It’s a huge amount of money but how much of it is spent in the area, or stays here? We eat around 450 tonnes of fruit, 350 tonnes of vegetables, 300 tonnes of bread and 700,000 eggs each year. How much of this is brought in from far away, at huge expense to the environment?
In early 2009, PEDAL conducted a survey of over 500 local residents, which revealed that many people support the idea of a community farm. So PEDAL has appointed Whitmuir Organics to find out whether a community farm might work in Portobello. They are looking at possible sites, as well as different options as to how it could be run.
A community farm could be a small site run by volunteers that also offers an educational and fun day out, or a larger site on the edge of the city employing a farmer. We could set up a subscription with farmers who would supply produce straight to us. Or we could open a community shop sourcing food from producers across the Lothians and providing training and jobs for local people.
We want to find out what best suits Portobello and whether you’d like to get involved. Are you interested in growing or buying more locally-produced food? Would you be willing to pledge your support as a shopper, or your time as a volunteer? Are you looking at starting up an enterprise, or do you belong to other groups that may want to get involved?
Over the coming months we’ll be holding open discussion days. Follow this link to see the food links road map created at one discussion day on the 23rd November
We have also set up a short term working group that will aims to explore attitudes to food in Portobello, raise awareness of some of the issues associated with food production, and build confidence that together we can change the way we buy our food for the better.
To find out more or get involved, contact Polly or ring 0131 258 4483.