From local to global: Lee Greens and the bigger picture

3rd February 2021

This February we’ll be taking a look at the bigger picture: how does Lee Greens fit into the sustainable future of agriculture and food? Celia Bradley, one of our directors, will be bringing us some facts and figures and some inspiring stories from around the world, encouraging us to envision a better future for humankind and our relationship with land and food. She will take us through Understanding more about the current food system, to Imagining a different future, and closing with some Actions we can take as individuals.

Celia writes:

When I started work on my “Community Greens” project back in 2014, I had no idea what the future held. Now Lee Greens, the scheme that I set up, is delivering fruit and veg to around 300 households each week.

What inspired me to embark on this project? Since leaving behind me a life in the corporate world I had spent time thinking about what my values were, and how I could be true to my values in mywork. Three really important things for me were Community, Environment and Healthy Eating. I Came across an article in Jellied Eel magazine: Growing Communities, a well-established ethical food organisation in North London were offering support for people wanting to set up local veg schemes to support small farmers who farm sustainably, and to become a community focused non-profit enterprise.

While I knew absolutely nothing about selling vegetables, I did know that this chimed with what I was looking for, and I therefore got in touch and joined the start-up programme. Since about a year ago, this has become Better Food Traders and Lee Greens is an accredited member of that network.The network is extremely important for two reasons: it provides the Lee Greens team with a network of other very similar organisations with whom we can share knowledge and experiences; it also means that Better Food Traders Has a significant voice in lobbying national government for food and agriculture reform because they represent the interests of many small businesses combined. In the past year we have seen how box schemes like ours have had to adapt and respond to the extraordinary situation and many studies have been looking at how local food systems are so important, incredibly robust, and certainly worth investing in.

Back when I started out, I could see how supporting sustainable farming would be good for the environment and I wanted to be active in my local community: both of these are great ambitions. What I didn’t really appreciate was that there is a much bigger picture, something that I have assimilated further over the past five years.

Last month I attended the Oxford Real Farming Conference where several thousand people from around the world joined in hundreds of talks, workshops and discussions about how we are working to change the food system globally. It was incredibly moving to hear from people all over the world about their quest for food justice: indigenous groups fighting against land-grabbing; small-scale farmers reclaiming the word ‘peasant’ to reinforce the importance of local, sustainable production methods; small producers joining forces with one another to have more weight in the fight against huge global corporations.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing some facts and figures and inspirational stories about what is happening in the wider world and how Lee Greens is a small part of the enormous change that is underway.

You can read more in the next article: Understanding the bigger picture

Celia Bradley, Lee Greens Founder and Director

Cabbage Photo by Kiona Lee on Unsplash