Their story: Edcombe Farm Harvest Share Scheme are a small organic market garden on the foothills of the Mendips between Wells and Cheddar. Most of the veg is for a share scheme where local people come to the farm once a week and collect the veg which has just been harvested. They have just started a drop off point in Wells.
Members set up a standing order for a small or large share. The share is written up on the board although we have some flexibility in the winter where members get to choose from a selection of winter veg. They have some other outlets including two farmers markets, some local pubs and Somerset Local Food Direct, an online project.
"We were selling to Bristol Farmers Market and wanted to sell more locally, " says Lauenna. "We wanted to have a closer relationship with our customers. So we started the share scheme as once it is up and running it provides a very reliable market for the vegetables. It is satisfying to provide a weekly supply of vegetables to local people who faces we recognise."
Judy & Lauenna were already growing on the land and paying rent. They had a couple of articles written about them and some leaflets distributed around the villages. It is just the two of them working part-time with some help from Robert the farmer. They relied on people passing the word around and have received some help, funding and advice from Somerset Community Food. The team have improved our other markets, including local pubs and Somerset Local Food Direct.
Challenges: "We have struggled to interest people in getting involved in the project in terms of volunteering or social events," says Lauenna. "In hindsight, I would have had leaflets and posters printed professionally straight away. We have about 24 members and their families and various other customers through SLFD and our market stalls."
Plans for the future:
How to get involved: contact email@example.com
"We’ve been buying organic vegetables from the Edcombe Farm Harvest Share Scheme for a few months, having signed up not long before the freezing winter (of 2010) set in. The scheme had been set up by Judy Pearce and Lauenna Luddington who kept it going (and fed us) with great fortitude through those extreme weather conditions. It’s very convenient to be able to pop across the road and collect our share of home-produced seasonal vegetables each Tuesday.
As well as being locally grown, they’re organic and very fresh, haven’t travelled halfway around the world and haven’t spent an unknown time being packed and processed before reaching the supermarket shelves. The result is evident in their taste. Even leading commercial organic schemes import some of their vegetables from elsewhere in Europe and North Africa and only claim ‘no air freight’.
Each week the vegetables on offer change, so we’re never quite sure what we’ll be getting. There’s the occasional surprise, like broad bean shoots, but these are usually accompanied by recipe suggestions chalked on the board. Summer is now upon us, and in recent weeks we’ve enjoyed asparagus, broad beans, mangetout, radishes and new potatoes. Well done Judy and Lauenna!
- by Megan and Ken James, June 2011