The team at Sustainable St Albans recently spoke with Clare Henry of FoodSmiles to understand more about their society. They will be joining us at the Harpenden Sustainability Market on Sunday 19th November, where you can find out more about this industrious group.
We set up Foodsmiles almost 10 years ago, when a small group from Transition St Albans (now Sustainable St Albans) got together with a shared idea to start a Community Supported Agriculture scheme to benefit the local area. We couldn’t find suitable land within St Albans but after several months we were offered a plot at Hammonds End organic farm in Harpenden, which we enthusiastically accepted. The farmer let us have the land for free for the first year and thought we’d only last six weeks. He is as happy as we are that we proved him wrong!
We now have 25 members who agree to work a specific number of hours per month and pay the associated membership fee.
All members are responsible for sowing, planting, watering, weeding and harvesting the organic vegetables that are grown. It really is a team effort. Being a small group, we can grow only enough vegetables for our own use and all produce is shared among the members.
How does your business help the District become more sustainable?
By encouraging others to join us to grow organic vegetables. We discuss rotation, composting, we use the manure from the farmer’s cows. We car-share, we form hubs to deliver our weekly veg bags closer to members’ homes. We use a rain water irrigation system, we have solar panels for our lighting in the winter and our fridge in the summer.
What is your favourite thing about St Albans District?
So many opportunities to join eco communities throughout the district
What is your best eco tip?
Plant a tomato seed and taste the difference!
Visit the Foodsmiles team at the Harpenden Sustainability Market where they will be sharing their growing experiences, and encouraging people who want to grow organic vegetables with like-minded people to come and visit our site, and maybe subscribe to FoodSmiles.