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Grow + Graze: Campaign to grow more veg in the Calder Valley

Monday, 22 August 2022

A new campaign has been launched in the Calder Valley aimed at setting us on the road to more self sufficiency in food, particularly of vegetables. Growing vegetables in the upper Calder Valley, it would seem, is not only perfectly possible, but many farmers are successfully doing this.

One of the founders of the campaign, Jenny Slaughter told the HebWeb, "There can be no more critical time for the UK's food security. Brexit, the war in Ukraine and the the climate crisis have collided to present us with a perfect storm of projected food shortages and an associated cost of living crisis which will leave many unable to afford to eat a healthy diet."

Jenny believes the answer lies in shorter supply lines and more local production.

With its hilly terrain and relatively poor soil, the valley is traditionally suited to livestock rearing but the campaign wants to work with farmers and landowners to persuade them that we could and we should integrate livestock with more veg production.


Jenny added, "We do not think it will be easy. It will be a massive challenge to grow at scale especially as we absolutely cannot afford to compromise on environmental standards of production. We need to ensure that we farm and grow regeneratively in order to protect our soil and nature's diversity, while producing at a commercial and profitable level for farmers and growers."

Jenny works with Pennine Cropshare, a local organic veg box scheme, which along with other local shops, already provides a ready market for local produce.

With a background in nutrition, Jenny is very conscious of all the evidence that we need to eat more vegetables in our diet to avoid lifestyle illness such as obesity and diabetes.

The cost of fuel and fertiliser and the environmental cost of transport means we must grow our veg more locally and sustainably. The Grow + Graze group are aware from the successful growers we do have in the valley that with the right inputs and attitude it is perfectly possible. Grow + Graze think just need to do much more and we need to do it now. They want to see horticulture back on the agenda of schools and colleges and a patchwork of market gardens across our beautiful valley.

If you might have land to offer for growing or expertise in the area, please contact the group through the website - Grow + Graze.

Photos from Jenny Slaughter of veg being grown in the Upper Valley.