Looking back on the Challenge

What a month September was! Very busy but very bountiful, and after a bit of relaxation  it’s time for reflection. We had some great events during the month and some wonderful weather (though occasionally woeful) and a generally plentiful and tasty selection of local food. Here’s a bit of a summary of some of the great stuff we enjoyed during the Challenge.

Transition Ipswich ran four great Cook Local sessions. People learnt a few cooking skills and tips, everything we ate was local and delicious and we managed to substitute some non-local standards with local alternatives, cunning use of lemon scented herbs  is just one example that springs to mind. Most of all people came together and really enjoyed cooking and eating together and going home well and truly fed!


Jointing Chicken









Unfortunately the Big Picnic coincided with some of the woeful weather but the hardly souls who came along enjoyed some delicious barbecued lamb and witnessed the biggest butcher’s block in the world (probably) being christened by the handsomest butchers (allegedly).


Transition Woodbridge ran a film night, a gig and local food night, a foraging walk and a meal and a fruit bottling workshop, so popular they’re running another 2 sessions in October and November, so if you fancy getting involved check out their facebook page.

Sustainable Bury held a Cook and Eat Local meal which was fully booked with lots of people coming together to enjoy some tasty local food and their now busy organising a Green Fair which will take place in Bury on the 2nd November, check their facebook page for details.  The local library took lots of the kids’ calendars and stickers. They did a whole informative display, putting the initiative into their own simplified words for children and they had pictures of fruit etc and also relevant books about localisation etc and food. They really embraced the challenge.



Greener Sax had a great celebration of local food to kick things off which was held at Peakhill Farm on the eve of the challenge.  Lots of fun, a cheese-making demonstration, a honey extraction demonstration (which the kids loved), a foraging walk, organic Peakhill burgers and ribs, some nose to tail eating quiz and, home-made rose petal, rhubarb and bullace wines, Adnams wine and ginger beer and good weather. This was followed by other events and even spilled over into October with an apple day where apples were baked, dried and generally enjoyed!

Greener Fram concentrated their efforts on their local primary school, Robert Hitcham’s,who embraced the Challenge. Proof was shown at a picnic at the community allotment at the end of the Challenge where there were about 15-18 families represented (approx 50 people). Not all of these had been involved with the garden to date.  The stickers and calendar sheets were received very well. The school loved the fact that we had supplied everything to them and done an assembly.

Sustainable Bungay’s regular Happy Mondays meal was thoroughly local in September and thoroughly delicious, with local food ranging from the foraged blackberries for apple and blackberry crumble. to predictably plentiful courgettes for fritters. The Happy Mondays Meal is a regular fixture and Sustainable Bungay is bidding for £3000 from the Lloyds Community fund to expand and develop the existing, thriving Happy Mondays meal into a wider project. This will offer training and learning and increase access to low-cost, healthy and locally sourced food.


Transition Sudbury held a promotional event for the Challenge at Sudbury Farmers Market on the 30th August and  lots of people said that they would give it a try.  The group was interviewed a couple of times on Radio Suffolk  and it was good to get their support but the interviewers did keep asking why it was more expensive. They replied by asking if they were comparing like with like and quality!  They also held a shared lunch made from only produce from within the 30 miles which was great fun and everyone enjoyed.

How did your challenge go we’d love to know – why not post a comment!

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We’ve updated our maps, hurrah!

It’s been a long night – but at last, we have an updated map of over 100 of our local producers in Suffolk! From garden gates to large farms, we hope you’ll find something wonderful near you. Check our our Producers map below – more info on how to use it is on our Producers Page.

We have also now updated our list of retailers around the county – 140 and counting – who sell local food. Check out the map to help you streamline your local food shopping using your nearest outlets. Enjoy your weekly shop!

Finally we have done a quick update of our map of restaurants, cafes and pubs who serve local food on their menu. We’ve found nearly 60 already but we’re keen to find more – do let us know if your local supports local producers by serving up their food. Thanks all, and happy browsing. Here’s to more new discoveries and more variety for the last few weeks of the challenge!

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Rising to the Challenge in Ipswich!

Transition Ipswich and the fine folks at the People’s Community Garden at Maidenhall Allotments rose to the challenge today with a brilliant kick-off event.

We were treated to a bread-making workshop with the wonderful baker Jonathan, who gave us a hands-on introduction to breadmaking with a simple recipe, a fascinating explanation of the science behind baking and a good go at kneading our very own focaccia. Thanks Jonathan, for sharing your skills and infectious enthusiasm with us!

Breadmaking workshop

We also set to work making a hearty soup with vegetables freshly picked from the garden, including courgettes, onions, beans and tomatoes, which made a colourful, tasty and really simple medley. Thanks to everyone who helped pick, peel, chop and cook – it was a real group effort 🙂

Making soup!

Still in great shape since the challenge last year, the clay oven was fired up once more to cook all the focaccia – Dave and Jonathan did a great job stoking up up and getting the bread cooked for our soup lunch.  There was lots of interest in the oven; one couple went away hoping to build one in their own garden! Hooray for wood-fired outdoor cooking! Here’s to a whole month of local food, new skills and new friends!

Firing the oven!

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The Challenge Approaches

This year’s food challenge is fast approaching, building on last year’s successful food challenge, this year it is Suffolk wide with the help of Transition groups across the county! 

As you might have noticed we have been busy updating our website with lots of great events throughout September, and adding to the list of retailers and producers selling local food, so you can find your nearest outlet, so take a look around the website. This year’s leaflets are out and about in lots of local food places, if you haven’t manged to get hold of one yet or the dog has eaten it it is available to download on the website or you can pick them up in loads of places in the directory. If you would like a handful for your workplace or to hand out to friends and family then let us know – our email address is 30milefoodchallenge@gmail.com.
We’d love to hear about new retailers and producers who we haven’t yet stumbled upon, please let us know if you have any favourites too add to our map.

The British summer has been glorious this year (if a little dry!), good news for foragers and farmers alike as it looks like being a great year for the crops especially apples. If you’re not sure how to make the best of the range of local produce then why not join us at one of the cook local sessions.They take place every Wednesday evening throughout September at the WI kitchen in Ipswich and all the details are on the website. If you want to take advantage of the wild harvest then head along to the bottling and fruit pressing events at Poppys Pantry in Woodbridge.

We are aiming to help everyone to rise to the challenge and learn how to make a local loaf at our launch event on the 1st of September. We will be making bread in a clay oven and soup from the lovely (and local) produce of the People’s Community Garden which you can also buy. The garden will be open from 10 but we won’t be starting the bread and soup making till 11ish with lunch between 1 and 1.30pm. We hope to see you at our launch and some of the other events in September – see the events page on our website for more info, where you can also find details of how to book, where applicable.

Dave from Transition Ipswich is studying for a PhD exploring the link between local food and well-being and will be blogging about his experiences during the challenge and he’d love to hear from anyone who is interested in sharing their experiences of the challenge. If you’re interested then just send an email  to 30milefoodchallenge@gmail.com you can also get in touch if you’re interested in doing a blog yourself and you can see some from last year on the blog section of the website which make interesting reading.

You are probably starting to think about sourcing your food locally in September, and to help you we will also be adding recipes to the website,  if you have any yourself then just send them to us.

Good luck with your challenge!

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Calling all facebookers and bloggers!

The numerous Transition groups across Suffolk undertaking the challenge this year have a new facebook page, aiming to bring everyone together in one place to share tips and events information. Have a look and please do ‘like’ our page to get updates and news leading up to, and throughout the month. We’ll soon be sharing tips on where to get local goodies, and we’d love challenge participants to share their new discoveries during September.

Our Facebook page

If you’re particularly keen to share your experience, we’re keen to welcome new bloggers too. We had 3 bloggers from Ipswich last year who wrote about their experience of undertaking the challenge. Some will continue this year (including Kirsty who is gearing up for the challenge already!) but we welcome new contributors from different parts of Suffolk. Get in touch if you’re interested, or if you’d like to send us snippets for a blog or photos of your local food creations, the email to send to is 30milefoodchallenge@gmail.com – or add them to our facebook page. Recipes are particularly welcome, which we will add to our Recipes page for others to enjoy 🙂

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‘The Moo Man’ comes to Ipswich

Well worth seeing the ‘The Moo Man’ follows life on a small dairy farm in East Sussex. As an advert for steering clear of supermarket milk, this film is hard to beat and is certain to make you think twice about it. The film brings to light many of the issues that stem from an industrialised global food system, but these are presented via the very human face of family farmer, Stephen Hook along with his 72 cows! For more info see The Ipswich Film Trust website

Film times:

Fri July 26 at 7.30pm
Sat July 27 at 2.30pm & 7.30pm
Tues July 30 at 2.30pm & 7.30pm
Wed July 31 at 7.30pm
Thurs Aug 1 at 2.30pm & 7.30pm

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Rising to the Challenge

In preparation for our launch event on the 1st of September we’ve been baking bread at the People’s Community Garden with some tasty results. Bread fresh from the oven with some delicious goats cheese and home made rhubarb chutney was a welcome lunch!

The weather was glorious and the sun did a great job of pre-heating the clay oven. We’re hoping for another fabulous day on the 1st of September when we’ll be baking bread and cooking soup fresh from the garden to celebrate the launch of this year’s challenge. Leon Pearson from the Slowdough bakery will be leading a bread making demo so come and join us then and Rise to the Challenge. We’ll also be running a stall at this years Big Garden Party, so come and see us to find out more about the challenge and pick up a copy of the directory of local producers, retailers and places to eat out.

Perfecting oven baking techniques amongst the herbs at the  People’s Community Garden

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Challenge Events Calendar for September 2013 goes live!

Check out our Events page to see our fabulous list of Local Food events taking place across the County in September. There’s sure to be at least one one near you. Many are no, or low, cost so there’s no excuse not to go along and meet others enjoying the challenge.

Make a date in your diary NOW for the Big Picnic on Sunday 15th at White House Farm, between Framlingham and Saxmundham – less than 30 miles from most parts of Suffolk. Bring (or buy) local food for an afternoon with, we hope, hundreds of people who care about what they eat in beautiful surroundings.

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The Suffolk 30-Mile Food Challenge 2013 Approaches!

Plans are well underway for the September 2013 30-Mile Food Challenge and this year it is going to be County-wide! Transition, and similar, groups across Suffolk are working together to make it bigger and better than last year – harnessing the power of community co-operation. The database of Retailers, Producers and Eating Out places has now been extended to cover the whole county, and beyond, and Events will be happening all over Suffolk so there should be something close to wherever you are.

The highlight will be the Big Picnic (on what may be the world’s longest picnic table) at White House Farm, Great Glemham, between Framlingham and Saxmundham on Sunday 15th September. This will be a gathering for everyone and anyone interested in local food (whether you make it or just like to eat or drink it). It’s going to be a relaxed family event with something for everybody, even if it rains. Bring your own local food picnic and enjoy the company in beautiful surroundings.

Look out for a new free leaflet (kindly paid for by all the businesses featured) with lots more local retailers, producers and eating out places, it will be published in July and distributed widely. If you would like some copies to hand out, e-mail us at 30milefoodchallenge@gmail.com.

And this year we are planning to work with primary schools across the county – thanks to The Co-op and East Feast who are funding some very colourful calendars and stickers which will be given to all the children to encourage them to Grow Local, Buy Local and Eat Local!

Watch this space, and other parts of the website for updates. If you’re up for the challenge please sign up via the link on the right hand side of this page we will keep you updated on events and other information, you will also be in with a chance of winning a lovely local food hamper!

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A busy start to the year… workshops, blogs and more research!

Happy February everyone!

Garden Share Flipchart ideas

We had a fantastic Community Resilience Workshop last month, with over 40 people attending to discuss future Transition initiatives and build on existing projects, including the next local food challenge. The brief outputs of the workshop are on the Transition Ipswich website, here.

Aside from themes based loosely on sustainable transport, energy and livelihoods, there was also a discussion group interested in garden sharing and linking up experienced growers with new ones, to help make use of unused gardens and public spaces. There are lots of ideas to take forward to help more people produce local food in 2013! There are also plans forming to think about how we want to run the 30 Mile Food Challenge this September.

What else have we been up to? Lucy has written a great review piece for the Transition Network website as a guest blogger. To remind you how great the food challenge was in 2012 have a read of it, here!

Kirsty has been updating a local food directory – which has been copied on to the Producers page. Have a look and see which producers are churning out local food that you weren’t already aware of. It’s surprising how many have sprung up or expanded since we produced our mini-directory last September. We’ll be updating our Producers and Retailers maps in the coming weeks too so get in touch if you’re a producer and want to be included.

There is also some exciting research ramping up a gear at Essex University on local food systems. Our long-standing Transitioner Dave has recently started his PhD within a research team there, watch this space for more. We hope this academic research will soon start to illustrate the evidence of all the health and wellbeing benefits that local food can bring. More information is here, or contact us and Dave can tell you all about his work.

If you’d like to help organise the 30 Mile Challenge with us this year, do get in touch, we’d love to have you onboard! Onwards and upwards; Spring’s just around the corner!


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