Feeding Manchester #11

The 11th FeedingManchester gathering went ahead at the Creative Living Centre in Prestwich on Saturday 10th November 2012. This was FeedingManchester’s first event to take place outside Manchester city centre, drawing over 50 dedicated members of Greater Manchester’s sustainable food movement for a full day of networking, presentations, discussion groups and workshops.

The day began with quick introductions by all participants led by FeedingManchester coordinators, Rob and Nona, before making a start on a packed agenda. The event was hosted in Prestwich, in partnership with some of the active groups in that area, including Incredible Edible Prestwich and District and Prestbake, Prestwich's Community-Supported Bakery project.

The day got properly underway with a presentation by George, who introduced everyone to a little local history and the way that various community groups relate to each other. Their projects include: Incredible Edible Prestwich, the ‘Local in Prestwich’ business group, the proposal for a Phillips Park Eco Centre and emerging community energy, bakery and market gardening initiatives.

Next came the Community-Supported Bakery special, featuring members of Prestwich’s own Prestbake initiative and assisted by Simon from Slaithwaite’s Handmade Bakery.

This began with a presentation on the progress made and problems faced by Prestbake as they work to establish a community-supported bakery. Then, Simon shared the experiences of Handmade Bakery and the process they went through as they established themselves. Today, Handmade Bakery has their own bakery and café and sell at five outlets, including Unicorn Grocery in Chorlton. This was a great opportunity for the two projects to share experiences and lessons learned and for Prestbake members ask advice from an experienced project.

STOP PRESS: Only days later Prestbake announced their first date for baking, which will take place on 21st January - so it looks like this session was useful and may even inspire others to get baking!

Even during the coffee break, the discussion didn’t let up, as participants broke into groups over cups of tea to discuss challenges and possible solutions for: Community-supported bakeries, urban food growing projects, networking and working in partnership to develop a sustainable local food network and running Community cafes. The results of these discussions were then shared with the group and will be available on the FeedingManchester website.

We then moved on locally-catered lunch with soups courtesy of independent catering company/cafe Five! and cakes provided by Crown & Country Vintage, fuelling people for the afternoon session as they caught up with old friends, developed plans for collaboration or shared their projects with each other.

After lunch, there was a special session featuring speed presentations. Presenters were given only five minutes to present 20 slides, with only 15 seconds per slide. This was a great chance to gain a quick overview of four different sustainable food initiatives in Greater Manchester and included presentation by Adele from Crackin’ Good Food, Kath from The Kitchen and Transition Town Bolton, Faith from Real Food Wythenshawe and Lindsay Berry from Ordsall Hall.

To end the day, four workshops were run, with every person attending two thirty-minute sessions. Topics covered included using social media, recruiting and retaining volunteers, getting more local veg on farmer’s markets and helping Prestwich to fulfil its food growing potential.

The event was a great success, with amazing turnout!. Participants left energised and inspired, having developed new connections and enthusiasm that will guide their work until the next event in March 2013.

Photos from the event can be found here.