Real Food Comes to Manchester

On Tuesday 11 June, Manchester Friends of the Earth launched its Campaign for Real Food to a packed audience at the Friends Meeting House in central Manchester, and met with tremendous support from local residents. The meeting was the first step in a new campaign to promote organic and locally produced food as a positive alternative to the mass-produced food found on supermarket shelves, which is often bad for people's health and is produced in a way that degrades the environment.

Allan Beswick opens the evening

The public meeting was chaired by the BBC's Allan Beswick, and featured presentations by Graeme and Lauren (coordinators of Manchester FoE); the national Friends of the Earth Real Food Campaigner, Pete Riley; Rob Squires, talking on the Leaf Street community garden; and Jonathon and Ruth, from GM Free Cheshire.

Pete Riley, national FoE's Real Food campaigner

As an introduction, the public was treated to a selection of free hot and cold organic food (supplied by local traders Unicorn Grocery and Misty's Vegetarian Cafe), and presented with a free directory of local and organic food in the Greater Manchester area.

The event was a resounding success, and audience feedback was extremely positive. Manchester resident Rhian Myhre commented: "Before attending this meeting, I knew very little about organic food and hadn't properly appreciated the scale of the problem. Organic produce is generally considered an expensive alternative to supermarket food, not as accessible and not as tasty, and it's clear that this is simply not the case. The range of food available this evening using entirely organic ingredients has gone a long way to combat my own prejudices. This is an important issue and it must be addressed, sooner rather than later. I wholeheartedly support Manchester Friends of the Earth and wish them great success with this campaign."

Rob Squires of Leaf Street Community Garden

Manchester FoE are now looking at ways to continue the push for greater awareness and availability of Real Food. If you have any ideas, and/or would like to join in the campaign, give them a ring!

Graeme Sherriff, Manchester Friends of the Earth (0161 834 8221,

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© Networking Newsletter (June/July 2002)