A Washingborough veg box
Saturdays have become a day of unprecedented excitement in our house, and the explanation might surprise you: It’s veg box day.
You can tell when the box has arrived, because the kitchen is suddenly heady with the fragrance of fresh *basil which is included in copious quantities.
Sounds emerge from my husband with his head in the box, like –
Oooh… OOOOOH!!! Mmm fresh pesto… ooooh heritage tomatoes… oh YES!… and then he rubs his hands together and declares, I’ll cook dinner tonight!
*it’s a seasonal box, this applies in the summer!
We’ve been receiving a weekly veg delivery from Middle World Farm in Washingborough for several months now, and I can honestly say that it has transformed our lives!
It is a veg box to ignite pleasure in vegetables, in cooking, and in eating.
There’s another reason I feel excited about Middle World: they are putting Lincolnshire on the map. Two online maps, to be precise.
The Open Food Network
Middle World Farm is the first Lincolnshire food hub on the Open Food Network.
The OFN is a not-for-profit, open source software platform – that means it isn’t and can’t ever be used by a big tech company to syphon profits from our local food system.
It DOES enable small businesses to sell produce online, whether that’s a farmer selling surplus at the farm gate, an artisanal baker or small scale jam maker, or an urban gardener with a load of surplus courgettes for a few months of the year.
The software is designed to foster co-operation, collaboration and fairness in the food system.
Growing the local food economy
Here’s an example:
Martin from Middle World Farm sets up a shop on OFN (that’s free for small producers and there’s a sliding scale of fees) – customers order during the week, and there’s a Saturday pick up at the farm, or home delivery.
This makes a lot of sense for producers who don’t have the overheads or time to manage a shop; also he only harvests what’s ordered and there’s no waste.
An apiary a few miles down the road opens an OFN shop. They don’t want people collecting from their house, but they can handle the orders on OFN, and customers can collect from Middle World Farm.
Martin delivers veg to a pie maker. Pies are made to order for collection on a Saturday, the farm fridge becomes an extra pick up point, and the pie shop also serves as a veg box pick up point.
…And suddenly you can see how pick up points can proliferate, bringing a greater diversity of super-local food to a community, and a greater connection to the farmers, millers, bakers and makers who have grown, reared, bottled, baked or otherwise produced our food.
Better Food Traders
Better Food Traders is a national network of ethical and climate-friendly food enterprises.
Middle World has put the first Lincolnshire pin the Better Food Trader map.
I’d like to see lots more pins in our area – wouldn’t you?
Find out more:
Subscribe to a veg box: openfoodnetwork.org.uk/middleworldfarms/shop
The Open Food Network map: openfoodnetwork.org.uk/map
The Better Food Traders map: betterfoodtraders.org/find-a-better-food-trader/
Learn more about the OFN – contact us and we’ll invite you to a workshop we’re planning firstname.lastname@example.org
This article was originally published in the Lincoln Independent, November 2022