Llanidloes Kitchen Project is go!

We’re happy to say we got the second round of funding so the kitchen project is full steam ahead. More news soon but if you have a chance, take a look at the article in this month’s (February 2013) Home Farmer.

Llanidloes Kitchen Cooperative

We’re very excited at Loop Project HQ to announce that we have received funding to explore the potential of a “kitchen co-operative” in the Llanidloes area.

“What is a kitchen co-op?” I hear you say. Well we aren’t completely sure yet ourselves, hence having received a grant from Glasu’s Community Resilience Fund to do some research on this subject. However we hope it will help existing and new food entrepreneurs to grow their businesses (but not too much – no tesco’s here please) through easy access to kitchen space.

Having started a small bread baking business a couple of years ago, we have seen that there are many barriers to entry to starting a food business in addition to setting up and equipping a kitchen such as insurance, certification, marketing costs and finding retailers. In a rural area it is arguably more difficult and there may be extra regulatory burdens imposed on dwellings in such areas (such as not being on mains water supply).

We think that even if suitable kitchens already exist in a town (school, community centre, church hall, pub), they may not be being used to their full potential for a variety of reasons. So a central point of contact to link all of these may be one solution OR it might be that this doesn’t really work as a model and a new stand-along kitchen would be required.

Our feasibility study will help us find out more by learning about the advantages/disadvantages and processes involved in such a scheme. We then will apply that learning in setting up our own kitchen scheme and help up to 3 other areas in Powys to the same. It’s all very exciting!

In the first part of the study, we will look for existing kitchen models around the UK, look at demand, potential users, potential facilities, compliance issues, management consideration and funding issues. The outcome will tell us how a system might work, how facilities could be coordinated, how well it might work, what levels of support there might be and how items produced could be branded.

We will pull all this information together to produce a guide called “Kitchen Cooperatives: an opportunity for Increasing Resilience” and running an event open to all to launch the guide, have a facilitated discussion and try to identify up to 3 other communities who might be interested in taking the ideas forward. If all goes well, the second part will actually be to set up some of these kitchen cooperatives in Powys in 2013!

We’re really excited and keen to get started. All the paperwork has been signed and we are aiming to have everything finished and an event at the start of November, that means we have 3 months… Best get working then…

If you want to find out more about what we are up to, take a read of this PDF Summary

If you are interested in setting up or expanding a small food based enterprise, or would have kitchen premises you would like to see used more in the community then please do get in touch, we would love to hear from you!

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English

This project has received funding through the Rural Development Plan for Wales 2007-2013 which is funded by the Welsh Assembly Government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

Welsh

Cyllidwyd y prosiect hwn drwy Gynllun Datblygu Gwledig Cymru 2007-2013 a ariennir gan Lywodraeth Cynulliad Cymru a’r Gronfa Amaethyddol Ewrop ar gyfer Datblygu Gwledig.

Changes in the loop

The loop project has gone a little quiet recently as we’ve been busy baking lots of bread, moving house and gardening. However the biggest project is loopy baby that is due in August. Hence Leanne has been reducing the amount of work she is doing to concentrate on a much more important project!

There was good news recently in that I (Andy) passed my Msc Architecture: Advanced Environmental and Energy Studies at CAT. I was researching and writing about local food production in Llanidloes. I will post a link to the thesis at some point.

It was hard work last winter writing for a January 31st hand-in. However, once the thesis was submitted I felt so relieved but also drained that I had to stop thinking about “local food production” for a time. However I’m now at the point of feeling inspired about the whole thing again, perhaps it’s the bounty of fantastic local fruit and vegetables we are devouring at the moment. I want to use the knowledge I’ve built up to make a difference to the area in which we live, it would be a real shame not to.

Anyway the focus of the loop project is going to change over the next year; the bakery is doing well and I would also like to focus more on research and perhaps do some consultancy work (if any comes our way) surround the mid-Wales region and local food production. Therefore there will be less emphasis on website design although Leanne will still be graphic designing and if the right sort of website comes along we will still work on it. There will also be a little one to nurture and look after.

I am becoming increasingly aware of the need to reduce our dependence even further on some aspects of the consumer society that surrounds us. We have already reduced the constant bombardment of advertising and marketing by not watching TV adverts and not buying newspapers or glossy magazines. We don’t really need much more than we have and by embracing “voluntary simplicity” we’ve had the happiest few years of our lives.

The next stage of this plan is really to spent more time learning simple skills such as pottery, carpentry, making clothes and basic electronics. This is not to say I expect an imminent societal collapse, it is just that we are (happily) time rich and money poor – we can learn these skills to improve our lives whether or not the consumerist world continues to grow for the rest of our lives. Community building is also very important. Luckily we appear to have stumbled across a fabulously strong community in the town we moved to only 18 months ago, Llanidloes. This can only grow stronger as time progresses and we build even greater bonds of trust with those we live and work near to.

We’re looking forward to the year ahead!

TLP 29 – Seed Swap – 5th March

The Llanidloes Seeds Swap event will take place on 5th March, 10am – 1pm at the Resource Centre on Great Oak Street. Poster lovingly designed by The Loop Project below…

There will be lots of exciting varieties of seeds available. Please bring along any spare seeds you have to contribute. Click here for more information on Llanidloes Seed Swap.

On the same day at the same venue there will also be the launch event of “Fruit Trees For All” – a new Llanidloes based project ran by The Llanidloes Allotment Action Group and funded by Environment Wales. The project aims to establish a community orchard throughout the town and will be offering fruit and nut trees for sale at £4 each – half normal price.

It’s going to be a great day. Hope to see you there!

More on Loop Project Presents #1

Thanks everyone who came to the first Loop Project Presents last Sunday evening. There was a good turnout and a thought-provoking discussion after the documentary. We’re looking forward to the next one – more details coming soon.

As we mentioned, we only showed the first part of the documentary on Sunday, to watch the next 3 parts try looking on Google Video. Here is a link to part 2. It’s not difficult to find the rest.

Once you’ve worked through that documentary, why not give another of Adam Curtis’ documentaries a watch? The Power of Nightmares looks at how politicians have used our fears to increase power and control over society. It looks at the development of the American neo-Conservative movement through over the course of the last few decades. “The Trap” looks at the concept of freedom and specifically “”how a simplistic model of human beings as self-seeking, almost robotic, creatures led to today’s idea of freedom.” (Thanks wikipedia)

Both perfect for family viewing over the Christmas period!

Curtis also has a blog on the BBC website which he uses to observe and discuss footage he has found in the archives. It’s a really interesting mix of stuff that he posts up so would recommend subscribing to it. I quite enjoyed this 1970s documentary about the hell’s angels and their mini-break on a canal barge!

Bread on sale!

We’re happy and excited to report that our bread is now on sale on a Friday in Llanidloes. Find out more. We’re selling scottish morning rolls, a yeasted 4-seeded loaf, ciabattas and rye seeded sourdoughs!