Creating new local markets for UK arable farmers and consumers.
Devon activist, Holly Tiffen, is creating a local market for farmers to sell grains to people. Grown in Totnes, is a Transition Town Totnes project, they have been buying oats, wheat, spelt, Einkorn and peas from local farmers and processing them by polishing, milling, sieving or flaking so they can be sold in shops and used by bakeries, restaurants and a local brewery.
Grown in Totnes is working with local farmers to encourage them to not just feed grain crops to their animals by default but to look at local markets. To date they have worked with four farmers.
“In this area we have plenty of local meat and dairy options available but there’s no source of locally grown plant-based proteins,” said Holly, 45, former Sustainable Development Officer for Dartmoor National Park Authority. “So we wanted to address that.”
Farmers in the Totnes area typically don’t have the equipment to dry and clean grains and pulses for human consumption, so Grown in Totnes has bought its own mobile drier. In 2015 they raised £26,000 through a crowd funding campaign to pay for the small-scale processing machinery, and then attracted further funding from the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, a Charitable Trust, to pay for staff over three years.
During its first few months of operation in late 2017, it was a struggle to pay farmers the price they needed while keeping the processed crops affordable for customers, even though all the town’s independent food shops agreed to sell the products. But as Grown in Totnes scales up, Holly hopes she will be able to reconcile the two.
“We are learning what we need to do as we go along, and the farmers are learning with us,” she said.
Read more about Grown in Totnes and their range of products here: www.grownintotnes.co.uk.