The link between diet and health is undeniable. The pesticides, preservatives and chemicals used in large scale farming end up in your body, through the food itself and the environment this type of farming builds. By purchasing food directly, from accountable producers who care about the food they grow or prepare, you can choose pesticide and chemical-free food. Further to this, the short time from harvest to plate means that the nutrients in produce are not lost. By choosing an organic, wholefoods, fruit and vegetable based diet, you reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer.
Having food security improves mental and physical wellbeing
Food insecurity is the term used to describe the current situation of over 8million families in Britain in relation to their access to enough good, nutritious food. For many people, access is not always possible, largely due to socio-economic financial and situational reasons. Food insecurity may be experienced physiologically, as hunger in the short-term, and both physiologically and psychologically as poorer mental and physical health in the longer-term. By participating in a food cooperative, local people get the chance to be part of an alternative system, where they can access food by different means. The opportunity to access a shared growing space, and to access good food at a low cost, along with communal cooking allows coop members to be in control and increase their food security, and therefore potentially reduce the risk of negative health repercussions.
Communal activities improve well being
The research on community gardening projects suggests that growing your own food together, with other people can lead to physical and mental health benefits. The benefits of community projects and in particular, community food projects are numerous, from the health benefits of eating better food, to the benefits of an increase in physical activity all the way through to the experience of being part of a community, feeling supported and in control. Many people report gaining friends through community projects, which can act as a buffer against stress, and make people feel less isolated and lonely.
If you are from the Tang Hall area, become a member of the Tang Hall Food Coop. You can volunteer with us at the allotment or the shop, and shape what we are doing and how we are doing it - it is a cooperative after all! We can share ideas, learn from each other, and help the food cooperative to grow. We will meet at least twice a week and work together at the allotment or in the shipping container shop. Don't worry if you've never done anything like this before, all you need to be is interested and willing to help - everyone can offer something worthwhile to the cooperative.
We will be having regular lunches with food we've grown on the allotment and bits and pieces from the shop. We want people to know about all the interesting ways you can cook seasonal and local vegetables and we have chefs who will help you do this. Even if you don't want to cook, you can still come along, enjoy a meal, meet other local people and find out more about what we're doing. Sharing a meal is one of the best ways to find some common ground - people from all walks of life come to the community centre, and everyone's got a story to tell.
Once our shop launches, we will aim to have a good stock of wholefoods so you can buy all of your food locally, ethically and sustainably. The prices will be good, as we will be buying in bulk at wholesale prices (from ethical suppliers), and passing those savings on to you, by selling at the same wholesale prices but in small quantities. Tang Hall residents can apply for a membership card with additional benefits. All the produce will be carefully sourced, and we won't be using plastic packaging. We will also have recipe cards to help you make the most of the seasonal vegetables.