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How Norwich can feed itself...

PUBLISHED: 10:25 19 March 2010 | UPDATED: 09:27 01 July 2010

Tully Wakeman

Tully Wakeman

Matthew Sparkes

A campaigner who claims that Norwich could feed itself on crops grown within six miles last night outlined to councillors how a new market garden project would work.

A campaigner who claims that Norwich could feed itself on crops grown within six miles last night outlined to councillors how a new market garden project would work.

Tully Wakeman, of the sustainable think-tank East Anglia Food Link (EAFL), promises that a new scheme planned for Postwick could provide urban residents with locally-grown vegetables.

EAFL has asked for £137,000 in National Lottery grants to set up the scheme, called Community Supported Agriculture, as well as another market garden at the Hewett School, a flour mill in Norwich and a network to help locally-grown beans be processed.

Speaking to councillors at Norfolk County Council's Norwich Area Committee meeting last night , he said that people would pay a monthly subscription and receive a weekly basket of seasonal produce.

Families would pay around £12 a week for the service, while single households would be charged around £5, he said.

The baskets would be picked up from distributed drop-off points located around the city, to minimise the distance that people have to travel to get their food.

He said that 75 people have already signed up to the project - three quarters of the number needed for the project to break even.

The scheme, first revealed in Wednesday's EDP, will involve renting four acres of land in Postwick and hiring a full time farm manager to oversee production.

Mr Wakeman told councillors that projects such as this were vital as the modern food chain was so dependant on rapidly-diminishing supplies of oil.

“Vegetables and fruit are mostly water, so moving them long distances doesn't make any sense,” he said.

But he also levelled criticism at other parts of the existing local food movement, in particular meat production.

Mr Wakeman said that greenhouse gas emissions from meat were “all about production, not about transport.”

This made attempting to justify locally grown meat from an environmental point of view a “red herring”.

Councillors at the meeting were enthusiastic about the plans, including Bert Bremner, Labour councillor for the University Ward.

Mr Bremner also suggested that residents should start growing more vegetables at home in their gardens.

“In the past they would have been an amazing source of food,” he said.

“I know it's a different time, but if people have got the time to dig a garden, they'll be able to get all the pleasure from it.”

For more information on the Community Supported Agriculture project, visit transitionnorwichnews.blogspot.com.

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