Food group

Ely Food Group page

Garlic growing in an Ely garden

Garlic growing in an Ely garden

Beneath the ever growing list of exotic foods available at our supermarkets, a worrying truth looms— global and local food systems, enabled by cheap fossil fuels, are not secure.

The prospect of diminishing supplies of fossil fuels coupled with climate instability could be nothing short of catastrophic for the modern, highly complex, industrial agricultural system.

This in turn has implications for our ‘food security’.

Food Security

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation defines food security as existing:

when all people, at all times, have access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life

This, it adds, involves the following conditions:

  • adequacy of food supply and availability;
  • stability of supply, without fluctuations or shortages from season to season or from year to year;
  • accessibility to food or affordability, and;
  • quality and safety of food.

The UK food system

There is little or no slack in the UK food system and the situation is not improving.

As Felicity Lawrence, in a recent article in the Guardian, points out:

Official government figures show that there has been a steady erosion of any slack in the system. In the UK, stocks of all food are typically downs to 11 days of supply.  The UK now carries just eight days’ worth of frozen foods, and 10 days of perishable goods. Globally, grain stocks are down to 50 days.


Situated in the middle of one of the most productive food-growing regions in the country, Ely has the opportunity to fare relatively well if it begins now to develop a robust, resilient regional food system.

The Ely ‘foodshed’

One of our main projects is an examination of the Ely foodshed.

What is a foodshed?

A foodshed represents all the stages between where a food is produced and where it is consumed.  This includes the land it grows on, the routes it travels, the markets it goes through, the tables it ends up on.

The term was first coined to describe the global flow of food. More recently the term is commonly used to describe local food systems and efforts to create more resilient, fair and sustainable ways of producing and consuming food.


We’re planning a Local Food event to coincide with this year’s Harvest Festival in early October.  Want to get involved?  Use our contact form.




Food maps

What others are doing


Please support your local independent bookshop, buy from Toppings


6 Responses

  1. […] sold in and around the village. Thinking about this I came across Transition Ely initiative, the Ely Food Group and the Ely Food Conference – October 31st 2009 – which will be exploring how people can […]

  2. Hi
    Just browsing the site and looked up the local food map – why isn’t the butcher in Fordham mentioned? Organic, local produce, home made sausages etc, plus veg and eggs. Brilliant.

  3. Hi Abigail

    Yes! Good point, we’ll add the Fordham butcher, thanks.

  4. I have a blog about growing perennial vegetables. They can be grown as part of a forest garden, integrated in a permaculture veg garden or a more traditional veg patch or (as I do) in polycultures. I think they are part of the answer to growing local food sustainably. The blog is at for anyone who is interested.
    Best wishes
    Anni Kelsey

  5. In my opinion, it is the big error.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: