2016 was a big year for the farm. Before we get stuck into 2017 I’d like to take the opportunity to look back on the year that was and share with you some of my reflections and photo highlights. Sutton Community Farm is supported by a dedicated bunch of people that put a huge amount of effort into making the farm the special place it is. Massive thanks to staff, volunteers, customers, members and all those who have supported, and continue to support, what we do. We’re a drop in the ocean, but together we’re proving that an alternative way of producing and consuming food is possible – one which puts people and planet at its heart and strives to challenge a broken food system that does neither.
In 2016 we’ve recruited (and retained) more VegBox customers, grown more veg and worked with more volunteers and visitors than ever before. In a challenging and often disconnected world this is testament to the importance of community spaces such as ours. A farm is an enterprise that produces and distributes food. Sutton Community Farm brings people together of all walks of life around this common aim, supporting a rich web of benefits.
Despite our successes we face significant challenges for 2017. The wider political and economic environment is challenging and uncertain. Selling vegetables is a competitive business and with the rising cost of paying valued staff a fair wage, a new obligation to pay pension contributions, uncertainty over the value of Sterling and the implications of Brexit on food prices, plus the continued downward pressure from supermarkets who squeeze farmers on their prices and present consumers with falsely cheap vegetables based on poor farming and labour practices, things are as difficult as ever! We’re optimistic though and I hope this shines through in the pictures below. Each year that passes we go from strength to strength, proving that our efforts are paying off.
So, if you’re looking for a New Year’s resolution for 2017 why not join us, or those like us. Think about becoming a VegBox customer either of ours or your local scheme. Join our crusade in showing that it’s possible to consume food in a way that’s fair and takes care of the planet. And if you’re already a VegBox customer of ours, then please spread the word – tell your friends and neighbours about us. If every one of our customers introduces a friend this year then we’ll end 2017 on an even greater high than 2016, with greater financial security and a sustainable business model enabling us to plough back surplus income into our community without having to rely on charitable grants and donations to plug the gaps. That’s what I’m excited about this year, I hope that this excites you too.
Charlotte (General Manager)
Read on for some highlights from 2016:
January – March
We said a fond farewell to Sam Smith, Manager for over three years, and I took over the reins. We also welcomed in Samantha Bourn as our new Growing Apprentice, and Veryan Wilkie-Jones to run our healthy eating outreach and education project: Sutton People’s Kitchen (Phase II).
July – September
We said goodbye to Veryan and welcomed Manisha Abeyasinghe as Project Coordinator for Sutton People’s Kitchen.
October – December
Thanks for reading this post. I’d like to leave you with this short video made by Power to Change and invite you to pay us a visit in 2017.