About us

Connecting local people to local food

Local food

Tasty vegetables grown with care just a few miles from your home

Bringing people together

Building a fun and supportive community of people and local food producers

Looking after the environment

Working in harmony with nature and the seasons, reducing food miles and protecting wildlife

Established in 2011

Staying true to our aims of challenging climate change by promoting sustainable lifestyles in our local area

How it all began

Once upon a time there was a small group of people who had been encouraged to think about how to make their village sustainable. They looked around and thought how it would be to grow their own food rather than relying on big companies supplying plastic wrapped food, treated with chemicals and shipped many miles. They began to dream of having a community owned farm in the rich land of the Tyne Valley and started to share the dream with others…..

The result of this vision and much hard work is GO Local Food.

We are growing in every way

GO Local Food is now an established local food co-op, based in Northumberland’s beautiful Tyne Valley, growing a wide range of amazing vegetables all year round. From staples such as carrots, onions and potatoes to more unusual varieties like calabrese and mizuna, we provide a wide range of high quality, nutritious and locally grown produce, hand grown in harmony with the local environment. 

At GO Local Food, we are passionate about connecting the local community to the food that they eat and the land on which it is grown.

How do we work

We run as a co-operative.  The whole enterprise is owned by us: we aren’t just consumers we are the producers. Together we decide what and how we grow. It also means we are involved in every aspect of running our co-op. 

For the last 4 years we have wanted to increase the amount of land we have to grow on, so that we can meet demand.  In 2020 we were offered an additional 2.5 acres of land by Matfen Estates with a view to a further 2.5 acres in two years time.  Together with our 2 acres in Ovington (Halls of Heddon Nursery) where we have our 5 poly tunnels we can feed up to 100 crop shares.  

Modern day farming takes its toll on the environment so we strive to work in harmony with the seasons and with nature. We don’t use chemicals other than organic slug pellets. We grow what’s possible given the North Eastern climate. Whilst growing and harvesting our vegetables we encourage and care for the wildlife that lives around our field and its hedgerows. We use manures and green composts to improve the soil and do not wrap or ‘ship’ our produce. Our crops are distributed (with soil on) within hours of being harvested.

We also grow time ( sort of )

From the outset we decided that we didn’t have the necessary skills, knowledge or time to develop and manage the kind of enterprise we had in mind.  We could do the organisational bit but we needed to employ a horticulturalist to lead the growing.

Our first spread sheet suggested that we needed to find approximately 64 hours a week of growing time.  Needless to say we have never been able to contract with growers for that amount of time.  We created an approach which relies on a contracted Horticulturalist with a team of Workshares i.e. members who give 4 hrs labour a week for 48 weeks of the year in return for a share of the crops.  At the point of writing and including volunteers (members who do not commit to regular hours) we are using about 100 hrs a week across our 3 fields and 5 polytunnels.

Our Horticulturalists

We contract with 2 growers Ian Todd has been with us since 2013.  Ian has been responsible for the design, development and improvement of the site, particularly the soil.  Introducing a 4 crop rotation, tons of manure and hours and hours of time we know that we can produce approximately 14 tonnes of veg a year and feed up to 115 crop shares.  As a contractor Ian uses his own tractors and machinery where necessary e.g. ploughing, harrowing, turning the compost etc.  Ian also prides himself on his ‘skip rat’ abilities from which, as an enterprise with a very small budget, we have hugely benefited.

Each year members are consulted on their veg preferences and this, along with previous years experience, is used to create a cropping plan.  The provides a blue print for the year, determining how many seeds, plants, manure, time etc  is needed.

Jala Haidar recently joined us after a decade working on different Therapeutic Horticulture Projects and Community Farms across London. Visiting and working on a project in Spain initially awakened her interest in growing. On leaving Uni, she stepped into a variety of voluntary and paid roles with different food growing schemes. This culminated in an apprenticeship at Sutton Community Farm, in south London, “I discovered I really liked the rhythm and pace of growing to scale. I am passionate about the small scale farming movement and using food growing to build communities and a better food system while caring for the land”

It will be interesting to see how experience of growing in the south compares to growing in Northumberland! Apparently she loves lots of different veg including leafy greens” which means Jala will be right at home with us!

Work sharing

Workshares, currently we have 13 working on the fields, everything from watering to comfrey cutting, transplanting seeds, shifting compost, digging and of course harvesting.  The workshares are spread across the week.  On Friday we have a whole team of workshares and volunteers concentrating on harvesting, weighing and preparing the crop share ready for members to come and collect.  

It’s not all field work though, there’s a lot of work that needs to go on behind the scenes as well.  We also have workshares to cover our communications, events planning and administration.