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Digging in: the local food revolution | More Than a Shop podcast

Food, glorious food is the focus of the latest More Than a Shop podcast episode. 

In Digging in: the local food revolution, Elizabeth Alker talks to vegetable gardener, YouTuber and author Huw Richards and Incredible Edible’s Clare Negus. We also hear from the fantastic community-owned and run Radcliffe Market.

Huw Richard has a social media following of over 250,000 and a mission to help as many people as possible to grow their own food, inexpensively:

“Going through school food is just seen as this thing which was given to you. You were never told how it was produced or anything. So on one side of things, you see this rise of veganism and the other side of things you see people just show no interest whatsoever.”

“I'm trying to reconnect people with where food has come from. When people don't realise the effort that goes into producing food, you get a lot of things like food waste because there's no respect for it.”

“I invite each household to choose something they’d really enjoy growing and would be excited about. This could be strawberries or even potatoes…It's about choosing something fun to grow. Something that I love doing and costs hardly anything is growing pea shoots. You can do this any time of year and have a bit of a taste of summer. And I think that's really special.”

Clare Negus works with the Incredible Edible group in Heaton Park, Greater Manchester – one of hundreds of groups globally who create kind, confident and connected communities through the power of food. Anyone can be a part of an Incredible Edible group – if you eat, you’re in! 

“Everything that is grown in an Incredible Edible project you can take and harvest yourself. You could be part of a community allotment for instance, so you don't have to necessarily do it on your own. I think it's more fun when you do it with other people.”

“I think people need to understand the complexity of actually growing food and how much effort it takes and how much time it takes because we're very ‘instant’.”

More Than a Shop series producer Geoff Bird also visited Radcliffe Market – pre-lockdown – a Community Benefit Society, which means it is owned and run by the community, for the community. Rob Grant, one of the market’s Directors, explains:

“All the money that we earn through the bar and through the rents and through the people visiting, goes back into refurbing the site and reinvested in the site to make it bigger and better. It's part of our principles that the money we earn and the impact we have is for Radcliffe. And we just want to build a sense of pride back into what is a great place to live.”

One of the market traders, Katie who owns Northern Glory, a food stall celebrating northern food:

“Because our profits are spread out within the community, I think people feel like spending money here is a good thing rather than just going into someone else's pocket. And we also take into account the society's values. We have to cook fresh food on site, make sure that all our packaging is compostable. No single use plastic here. And we have to make sure that our foods come in locally.”

Listen to the episode Digging in: the local food revolution and subscribe to future episodes morethanashop.coop. Transcripts of the episodes are available: www.uk.coop/resources/more-than-a-shop

More Than a Shop is a collaboration between Co‑operatives UK, The Co‑op, Co‑op News, The Co-operative College and The Co‑operative Heritage Trust.

The series is presented by Elizabeth Alker. It is produced by Geoff Bird on behalf of Sparklab Productions.

Please note: The More Than a Shop series was recorded before the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic. We felt it would seem odd to release further episodes without acknowledging what’s happening. We considered delaying or adapting the series, but decided that this is perhaps the perfect time to consider new ways of doing things as we all imagine a different future. We hope More Than a Shop provides some light and inspiration in these difficult times.

Written by Leila O'Sullivan
Updated: 19/05/2020