An initiative aiming to promote local food produce is being revamped for its first anniversary.
Launched in January last year, Cultivate Oxford is a local food co-operative which aims to “make great local food fairly-priced, convenient and accessible to more people in and around Oxford.” It now enjoys a membership of over 350 people.
One of the flagship services provided by Cultivate Oxford is the ‘VegVan’, to be relaunched today. Despite being similar in appearance to the typical Oxford kebab van, the menu available at the VegVan is radically different.
According to the organisation’s website, customers will be able to choose from a “fine range of seasonal produce, sourdough breads, locally-grown flour, free-range organic eggs and other delights,” either grown at its own market garden or sourced directly from other local farms.
Marking a change from last year’s schedule, the VegVan will be stopping at fewer locations in order to spend more time at each. Emma Burnett, one of the directors of Cultivate Oxford, commented on the decision, saying: “We also won’t spend as much time driving, so it will change our environmental footprint.”
She continued: “It’s been really exciting. We have a market garden down in Little Wittenham and this is our first season of vegetables.
“We have been growing on five acres of land. Recently we have acquired the adjacent field so we are going to be putting in an orchard there at the beginning of February.”
Aside from increasing the availability of healthy, locally-produced food products, Cultivate Oxford also aims to “support the growth of ecologically-friendly and sustainable farming, bring people together to push local food forward in practical ways, create training and education opportunities for a new generation of growers and do business in new ways that benefit and strengthen our community.”
Burnett also highlighted the organisation’s involvement in the local community: “We have lots of volunteers and people who are interested in local food who want to be involved.
“We are a business but we are also a social enterprise,” she said.
The VegVan will be making scheduled stops on Magdalen Road (outside The Rusty Bicycle pub) on Thursdays 4.30-7pm, at Oxford station on Fridays 3.30-7pm and at the South Oxford Farmer’s Market in New Hinksey on Sundays 9.30am-12pm.
Plans for further stops are currently being discussed.