How we’re securing veg supply

camelcsa-09-08-09

August 20, 2009

Camel Community Supported Agriculture is starting to source vegetables from outside suppliers.  Up until now the contents of our weekly veg boxes have come from our own site at St Kew Highway and from our three expert growers.

Our business plan allows us to buy in up to 40% of box contents over the course of a year, but during the rest of Year Zero we may have to increase that proportion.  Provided our bid for external funding is successful, this should not need to happen in the future.

This new move has led to some debate among members.  It’s proved impossible to source sufficient organic vegetable supplies within a 30-mile radius.  However we are in contact with some reliable small-scale local suppliers whose vegetables are not grown to organic principles.

Compromise

So we have a dilemma.  Do we insist on organically-grown vegetables that could come from afar or do we buy local vegetables that may not be organic?

Either way, we have to compromise: either by clocking up extra food miles or temporarily abandoning our organic food-growing principles.

We’ve been sounding out the views of members at our recent volunteering sessions and over the ether.  The response has been interesting.

With a couple of exceptions, members feel they would rather eat local food that is not strictly organic provided it comes from within our own immediate community in north Cornwall.  They don’t like the idea of clocking up food miles by using suppliers who are some distance away – maybe as far as east Devon. 

Local food

Ideally, the membership would like to source organic veg locally but realise this is not practicable in the short term.  They say they’d rather keep our veg box scheme going over the winter months and use the opportunity to start building up important local networks of small vegetable growers.  

Some responses from our members: –  

“Very happy with that – a pragmatic response to a short term problem.”

“We would definitely support the option of buying in local non-organic veg over shipping it in from further afield or taking a box holiday.” 

 

“Buy from local, especially small-scale local, rather than organic from further afield if necessary (fewer food miles).”

“We’d be happy with local produce even if not totally organic rather than shipping it in.”

Green manure

Our volunteer teams have been busy weeding row after row of carrots.  We’ve also begun the laborious task of pulling up the plastic mulch from the disused strawberry beds in preparation for sowing a crop of green manure. 

Thanks to Sunday’s volunteers – expert growers Jeremy and Mark N, helped by Carmen, Charlotte, Danny, Ian, Kitty, Mike H and Mike S, plus Finn aged five and three-year-old Keira.  

A special mention to Steve, who singlehandedly weeded a whole 29-metre-long carrot bed on Friday.  Trish masterminded the packing of the boxes along with pickers Charlotte, Mike H and Penny. 

Watch our latest video: Camel CSA – Our first harvest

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