What’s it all about?

The idea for the community cafe came to me in a flash of inspiration – I was trying to think of a way to sell the produce from my smallholding, but also musing on the fact that these days we seem to have few ways to connect with people in our communities.  Being green-minded, I wanted to try and reduce the environmental impact of transporting food by aiming for the shortest possible distance between field and fork.  Having sold produce at farmers’ markets, I also enjoyed the direct contact with customers, a chance to talk about the food and how it is produced.

Out of all of these ideas the community cafe was born in April 2009.  Its aims are two-fold:  To support and encourage the local food economy by providing a place where small-scale food producers can sell their produce direct to local people.  And secondly to provide a regular social event where people can meet, chat and enjoy good quality refreshments in a relaxed atmosphere.

Its been interesting that, since its inception, the cafe idea has sparked off other ideas that link with it:  There’s now a regular village ramble which ends up at the cafe for a well-earned drink.  Someone also started the community book exchange – a place to leave your excess books and collect new ones for a small donation.  And last September, we linked in with a number of yard sales being held around the village. Its great to see our little bit of creative thinking providing opportunities for other links like these.

The thinking that inspired our little venture draws on the ideas of the Transition movement – a grassroots response to the problems of climate change and resource depletion.  You can read more about it in “The Transition Handbook” by Rob Hopkins, or on the movement’s main website:  www.transitionculture.org What it comes down to is this:  We are headed for deeply troubled times as the effects of climate change begin to be felt, together with the realisation that we are wholly dependent on a finite energy source (oil) that is running out far faster than most people realise.  In the absence of a coherent response from our elected leaders, a bottom-up movement is emerging, promoting lots of wonderful creative ideas for coping with the future, all bound up within a vision that a gentler, less consuming lifestyle would be a lot better for us all, as well as the planet.  I probably haven’t summed it up too well, but we feel that the community cafe fits well within this emerging movement.