All of our veg is either certified organic or grown using organic methods by local growers. We only use organic veg in our bags because it is kinder to wildlife, reduces pollution, uses less fossil fuels and contributes to good soil health. We also believe that organic produce is more nutrient dense and tastes better too.
Supporting local growers and paying them a fair price has always been a key aim of Cropshare. We are working hard behind the scenes to establish more food growing in our area. When local, seasonal veg isn’t available, our next choice is Yorkshire and Lancashire grown produce, then from UK growers further afield.
Eating lots of vegetables is an essential part of a balanced diet. They are packed with nutrients, can lower your risk of developing a number of health conditions and help you to maintain a healthy weight. The Cropshare team are passionate cooks, so hope to encourage you to find new and creative ways of eating your veg by sharing recipes with you.
We keep our prices lower by bulk ordering seasonal and locally grown vegetables, and by delivering to central collection points rather than individual houses. By offering five different sizes of Veg Bag, we hope that there is something suitable for every budget.
We try to be environmentally and socially conscious with all of the decisions we make at Cropshare. This includes choosing fair-trade reusable jute bags, composting all of our veg waste, keeping plastic use to a minimum and reducing food miles by delivering to convenient local hubs rather than individual houses. As an ethical employer, we also make sure that our staff team are valued, fairly paid and well fed.
Pennine Cropshare was set up in 2011 by parent organisation Burnley Food Links as a means to make local, organic food accessible in the Central and South Pennines alongside their successful cookery classes, community allotments and school healthy eating programme (you can read more about Burnley Food Links here).
A loan, training and support from Growing Communities, a London based veg scheme helped to get us up and running, with one paid member of staff and a team of dedicated volunteers. Initially Cropshare was based at Freshfields Enterprises in Burnley, a horticultural training centre for adults with learning difficulties, where we supported clients to grow veg for our bags.
We moved to Hebden Bridge in 2017, first to a room at the Nutclough Housing Coop and then eventually to our current home in Windsor Works. Our team of staff and volunteers now pack and deliver over 300 bags a week, whilst planning the food revolution and eating a lot of cake. Swede Chocolate Brownie is a firm favourite with the team!
Better Food Traders
We were delighted to be awarded ‘Better Food Trader’ status in 2020. The Better Food Traders network accredits and supports businesses that are governed by principles that ensures the food they trade is farmed sustainably and that the way they trade is fair to farmers and transparent to customers. By creating a network of similar ethical veg schemes around the country, Better Food Traders aims to give us collective power and a louder voice to create positive change within our broken food system.
To read more about Better Food Traders, check out their website www.betterfoodtraders.org.
Our Social Aims
As a not for profit organisation, Pennine Cropshare is committed to investing our money into creating a better food system. Here are some of the local projects we are currently working on.
Calder Veg Collective- As members of the Calder Veg Collective, some of the Cropshare team are working to establish and support more small scale growers in the Calder Valley, through a network of ‘pocket farms’. We have joined forces with another, veg box scheme to offer local growers a guaranteed market and a fair price for their produce. In November 2020 we were able to donate £200 as a start up fund to a market garden pilot project and are actively involved in the development of other food growing initiatives locally.
Healthy Start Project- We are currently developing a project in partnership with the Calderdale Food Network to be able to offer cost price veg bags in exchange for healthy start vouchers. These vouchers are worth £3.10 each week and are available to anyone on benefits or under 18 who is pregnant or has children under the age of four. The vouchers can be redeemed for fruit, vegetables, pulses and milk.
Calderdale Community Cares- Any perishable vegetables that are left over at the end of our packing day are delivered to Calderdale Community Cares, who redistribute them to families in need around the Upper Calder Valley. Go to Calderdale Community Cares website for more information about their wonderful work and how to volunteer.