Calderdale has its own click-and-collect farmers market – Calderdale Food Mixer – thanks to a grant from the Community Foundation for Calderdale.
The Food Mixer is a web portal showcasing local food businesses, hosted online by the Open Food Network and in Calderdale by Halifax Opportunities Trust.
It has received £10,000 from the foundation to develop its webshop and for a series of free taster events in Halifax and Hebden Bridge. The grant will also support weekly ‘mixers’ and fund work to reduce food waste.
Food Mixer host Marie-Claire Kidd explains: “The Food Mixer enables consumers in Calderdale to shop for local food online just as they would shop at a supermarket’s website. They can browse from hundreds of products – from Saker fruit buns to Yorkshire Dama cheese – then pick up their shopping at one of our weekly mixers.
“Our mixers are a chance for producers and customers to meet and mingle. Producers are already finding ways to work together via the mixers.”
In time, Calderdale Food Mixer will also sell good quality surplus food online, to reduce both prices and food waste. Marie-Claire says: “There’s a lot of work to do on food waste in Calderdale and we hope to be part of the solution to that.
“The Food Mixer already works in that respect because producers have confirmed orders, so there’s no waste. Producers of fresh food can harvest/bake exactly to order. For shoppers, it means their produce is as fresh as it can be.”
A mixer has been up and running at the Queen Hotel, opposite Todmorden Railway Station, since November 2018. Starting this month, a second mixer will take place at the Egg Factory every second and fourth Thursday of the month.
A free Hebden Bridge launch event at the Egg Factory this Thursday (March 28) between 5-7pm will feature Ferret Down the Trousers and Stoodley Hoopla games. There will be lots of tasters including organic cheeses from Pextenement of Eastwood, vegan delicacies from Sacred Lotus of Cornholme, cakes featuring parsnips and beetroots from organic veg bag scheme Pennine Crop share and a range of fresh produce from Incredible Farm, Lumbutts.
The Food Mixer is inviting local producers, however small, to come along and find out more. It is also inviting prospective hosts to come forward to run the food mixer in Halifax.
Marie-Claire says: “We’re looking for someone to build on the success of the Halifax Food Assembly, which had over one thousand members and traded well. We know Calderdale residents want to buy local food and that our local food scene is thriving. Getting involved in the Food Mixer, as a host, producer or shopper, is a great way to be part of Calderdale’s local food network.”
Emma Woods-Bolger, Assistant Director of Community Foundation for Calderdale, says: “Independent businesses and shops are the bedrock of our communities, and when they thrive they create real jobs, cohesive towns and strong economies. For example, if every adult in Hebden Bridge diverted just £5 of their weekly spend from the supermarket to local suppliers, it would bring in an extra £2.6 million into the local economy over 12 months. Which is probably enough to make a difference to whether a town thrives or not.”