The other evening we had our third local food night at the Caley Sample Room. It is a partnership between the pub-restaurant on Angle Park Terrace and Shandon Local Food Group. Once a quarter, seasonal food fans assemble at the CSR to challenge the chef to see what he can produce from local sources at that particular time of year. There have been no disappointments yet; the food and company have been fantastic.
The idea for a Shandon Local Food Group came to me in late 2008 at a meeting organized by Edinburgh Greens. Apparently there was a Barra Local Food Initiative so I wondered if we could replicate in an urban area. With a couple of neighbours we tested the water by putting a flier round the doors in the Shandon area of Edinburgh. The response was overwhelming and within a few months we had secured funding for 2009-10 from the Climate Challenge Fund – another Green initiative, this time won by Green MSPs in budget negotiations with the Scottish Government.
Roll forward a year or so and the group has grown to nearly 200 members. Leaving aside the wonderful CSR Food Nights, we are one of the mainstays of the pioneering Royal Edinburgh Community Garden (as featured by the BBC recently); we have an active “grow your own” group; and we’re just about to launch our own “Shop Local” campaign. A couple of weeks ago we hosted our second annual “bring and share” event where local people brought along produce that they’d either grown themselves or sourced from local producers. What a fantastic spread that made!
That’s why I feel full. In a good way.