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Cultivating interest in locally-produced food
1:00pm Friday 11th January 2013 in News
Cultivate Oxfordshire director Emma Burnett with photographs going on show at the Turl Street Kitchen
AN INITIATIVE aiming to get people eating local food is marking its first anniversary by revamping its service.
Cultivate Oxfordshire launched on January 16 last year as a local food social enterprise aiming to grow and sell local food.
Now it has 350 members and is aiming to continue to spread the healthy word. One of the key initiatives has been the VegVan, which is similar to a fish and chip or kebab van but with a menu that is much better for you. It travels to locations around Oxford, including farmers’ markets, selling local and seasonal produce including breads, flour, jams, and freerange organic eggs.
The VegVan is set to relaunch on Thursday with a few changes.
Instead of driving around numerous places and stopping for very short periods, it will now focus on more central, easy to reach locations for a longer space of time.
One of the directors, Emma Burnett, 28 of Summertown, said: “We also won’t spend as much time driving, so it will change our environmental footprint too.”
The first confirmed stop is Magdalen Road, East Oxford, where the van will park for two-and-a- half hours on Thursday evenings. More locations are being finalised.
The year-old organisation is also the subject of a new photo exhibition, Eat Oxford: Adventures in Local Food, which will be on show at the Turl Street Kitchen until the end of this month.
Photographs were taken by Cultivate members Adrian Arbib, Martin Stott and Frank Havemann and proceeds from sales of prints will go towards local food organisations.
Ms Burnett said: “It’s been really exciting. We have a market garden down in Little Wittenham and this is our first season of vegetables.
“We have been growing on five acres of land. Recently we have acquired the adjacent field so we are going to be putting in an orchard there at the beginning of February.
“We have lots of volunteers and people who are interested in local food who want to be involved.
“We are a business but we are also a social enterprise.
“What we want to do is get as much good food to as many people as possible.”
While this year’s potato crop did not do well, tomatoes, aubergines, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbages, winter squashes and leafy greens have all been a success.
The orchard will allow the organisation to expand the range of food, and a big working party is planned for the February planting.