I did a detour this morning to Bearwood, a suburb of Brum which is just down the road from us but to which I never have much reason to visit. I’d heard rumours of a food festival, organised by Bearwood Pantry.
I’ve admired these ladies from afar for some while: fed up with not being able to get decent fresh produce in the city, they set up a co-op of their own, buying in bulk from farmers in Herefordshire and Gloucestershire and splitting the costs between themselves.
When faced with the prospect of moving to Birmingham I remember wailing to a friend, ‘but what will I eat?!’. She quite rightly gave me a metaphorical slap, but the point remains. If you want proper fresh produce that is still muddy, and you don’t have space or time to grown your own, or can’t afford/refuse to spend a fortune on box schemes, where on earth do you go? The only real options are the supermarkets or the Bullring market, which is indeed cheap, but a bit of a trek if you just want a leek or two.
So the Bearwood Pantry was born and has now become a ‘thing’. Their food festival today seemed great fun and, most importantly, totally affordable. I picked up some slabs of chocolate and organic milk, barely a few quid between them. Children were scoffing down homemade falafel whilst older ladies bought up giant hunks of bread; there were dirty carrots, lamb pies and red velvet cakes for Hallowe’en.
All in a church hall in Bearwood. Surely this is people power at its best.