Farnham Local Food (FLF) is a co-operative and CSA (Community Supported Agriculture – see the Soil Association website for information). It was founded in 2008 and is a community-run project supported almost entirely by volunteer labour. Its aim is to provide fresh, locally grown vegetables for people in and around the Farnham area. There are currently two sites, or market gardens, one in Runfold and the other across town in Dippenhall but the plan is to eventually just operate from one larger site. The fashion show is a fundraising event to help towards the financing of an eventual move and setting up of a new single site.
For the last couple of months there has been two strands of conversation in front of the stove – the amount of mud that accumulates onto our knee pads and the forthcoming fashion show. Our grower and three gardening volunteers will be putting aside their hats, scarves, rainproof jackets, gardening gloves, waterproof trousers, knee pads and wellington boots and will be donning something more glamorous – and I suspect, let’s face it, less practical. The clothes are being provided by Travelling Trends and will – we have been told – be womenswear from a number of high street chain stores.
The evening will be quite a contrast to the usual FLF operations. Every Tuesday and Thursdays volunteers descend upon either site with a steely determination to provide vegetables and fruit for the harvest on the following Saturday. We have our armour and equipment and we are ready to do battle with the drought, the continual rainfall, the unexpected frost, the lack of sun, or lots of sun but in the wrong month, or a mixture of the aforementioned all before lunch. Then we have to defend our produce from all the other creatures that want to eat it not only before us but also much faster than us. There are slugs, mice, rats, rabbits, birds and deer and as far as we can see they have been taking tips from watching this year’s Olympics.
As well as the fashion there will also be music played during the evening, Tony, FLF volunteer who not only digs but also looks after the finances is a member of a ukulele band and they will help to make the evening swing. Plus myself and Debbie will be exhibiting and hopefully selling our craft and art work up in the Gallery. Debbie’s work is already well known in the area as she sells her cushions through the lovely shop at the Farnham Maltings. I will be selling some of my original pen and ink and watercolour paintings, on the subject of fruit and vegetables, beautifully mounted and framed by The Poff.
All tickets have been sold for the evening and we will raise our glasses to a continued future of fresh local produce. It is now early Saturday morning as I finish this bloglet, I will now have to kick off my fluffy kitten- heeled slippers, slip off my silk pyjamas and soft linen dressing gown (yeh right!) in readiness for layer upon layer of wool and waterproofs to cover myself from top to toe, appropriately attired for this morning’s harvest – and yes my bum looks very very big in this.