Suzy Russell and Mick Marston from the Community Supported Agriculture Network UK share their views on why we need a Northern Real Farming Conference.
At the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Network UK we’re delighted to be supporting the NRFC. Why? Because it’s much needed. In the last few years we’ve been putting time, energy and resource into encouraging and supporting CSA in the North of England where there has, until, now, been little activity. And it’s paying off. In the last ten months our Northern membership has more than doubled with the increase across both rural and urban areas. Urban CSAs are taking off and forming part of wider sustainable food ecosystems being developed in many of our big post-industrial cities.
With this growth has come the need to be talking more to the needs and particularities of the north. CSA has, until now, been more prevalent in the south of England, and as a result much of our knowledge and resource has been developed in an environment which differs significantly from the north.
The climate is different. Farming systems and traditions are different. Land ownership is different, politics are different and demographics are different.
The desire to produce good local food is the same though as is the desire to get together and talk about what we are doing, how we are doing it and how we can persuade others to do it too. COVID has exposed seismic faults in our food system and chasms of inequality amongst our people all of which call for radical change, and change which is adapted to local environments. NRFC will provide a much needed and valuable space to come together in enacting this change and unlocking the door to CSA Up North.
The call for proposals deadline is 26 July.
By Suzy Russell, member of the core team for the Northern Real Farming Conference and Mick Marston, both from CSA Network UK