Beef for those who really need it
Back in April a lovely group of people from Stroud came to the farm for a walk and a chat. The group consisted of one of my customers (and good friend) John, a GP from Stroud and 3 people who work at or with community projects in Stroud that feed people in need. These community projects are known as the Stroud Food Collective. After seeing the cows, we had a really interesting and enlightening discussion which highlighted to me that there is a significant and growing group of people who need support and access to quality food. Also I found out that up to 50% of issues GP's diagnose have a diet related component.
At a very local community level the members of the Stroud Food Collective are cooking meals, running community cafes, community cooking sessions, making frozen meals and giving out ingredients. None of them are 'food banks'. Stroud has a food bank and that's really important, but I also leant that if you don't have a hob or oven, don't have the cooking skills, or money for the electricity or gas, fresh ingredients to cook at home can be next to useless - so hot affordable or free meals are key.
Currently the community group collect food from a number of sources, including the farmers market, and fruit and veg wholesalers , but meat is always hard to source.
So during June and July I will be promoting the idea to my beef customers of buying not just for themselves but also for someone else in need at the same time. In the online shop you will see two items labeled "beef for someone who needs it'. One is a £20 option which could provide 16 portions, the other a £5.75 option which is equivalent to a packet of mince, which could provide 4 portions. I will then match these donations by a further 50%.
So why Stroud? Well the only way I can make this work is to to work with trusted people who are organised, have good systems in place, have facilities and most importantly embedded in communities which trust them. I know there are people in need closer to home, but having met this bunch I am sure and trust that every pennies worth of beef donated will get right to someone who needs it. Perhaps in time myself or other similar farmers could would with other groups in other localities - thats certainly Johns plan.