Every time LESS holds a seasonal market in Lancaster, I am reminded of the benefits of bringing people together. During last week’s Midsummer Market I had a number of great conversations with local residents and column readers; including some great suggestions for building on last Thursday’s Sustainable Food City Lancaster REFRESH event (I will hopefully share a report from this event next week .)
One column reader- Denise- told me about an early morning wildlife spotting experience. She got up very early and looked out of her window overlooking the River Lune (on the Skerton side of the river). She spotted something large swimming across, and reached for her binoculars to help identify the animal. It was a deer swimming towards the wooded side of the river! This story raised some controversial questions for our food column: How can we better support wildlife to live alongside us in Lancaster!? Sharon Peacock from Cockerham Boers provided a few suggestions: she mentioned how they have created ponds and leave wildlife strips around their farm to support a range of critters.
I also met Peter whose uncle was a shrimper in Morecambe Bay. We talked about the shrinking fishing industry locally and how he wished that the abundance of small food producers that he grew up with were still around today. We talked about how we might make this happen through Sustainable Food City Lancaster’s work. Ideas mentioned throughout the day included: creating more communal spaces for growing, cooking and eating together around Lancaster (to allow for networking and skill sharing); making local food more easily available on the high street; allocating more green space around the city to food production as opposed to housing.
This lead to a great conversation about the benefits of community food growing: Not only do community farms such as Claver Food grow local food for local distribution, but it develops local skills, provides opportunities for exercise and brings people together- reducing social isolation and associated health issues.
I also learnt about someone’s attempts to live with less. As part of this lifestyle change they had taken up foraging and were about to start getting more involved in community food growing.
Now that Lancaster’s Midsummer Market has come and gone, we are starting to prepare for the Harvest Market on the 21st September. This will be held as part of Lancaster’s Health Festival and will feature a number of special guests, including our hospital’s chefs who will be running live cooking demonstrations with local-to-Lancaster produce. You can keep updated on the market by following the event’s Facebook page: Lancaster’s Harvest Market.