Happy 2013 to all our 30 Mile Challengers!

Greetings again one and all, as we move into a new year, and hopefully, another year of local food. This year we hope some of you have made some resolutions to spend more in local shops and support more local food producers – we certainly have!

We recently had a brilliant challenge review get-together in Woodbridge with other Suffolk Transition groups who undertook their own local food challenges this year – in Woodbridge, Framlingham and Halesworth. Aside from lots of enthusiastic reminiscing about the challenge, we also put our heads together to think about how we can challenge ourselves and others in 2013 when thinking about food. Watch this space for news on what we’re planning.

In the meantime, the Transition Ipswich Food Group have been busy organising a workshop, to be held on Wednesday 23rd January at the UCS West Building in central Ipswich, about how we can make our community more resilient in 2013. We’d love for you to come along, hear about the Transition Ipswich inspired projects already happening, and share ideas with us for new projects. All are welcome, from 8pm-10pm.

To give you a taste of what we have planned for the evening, we’ll be hearing from all the movers and shakers running projects which respond to the themes of Transition – that is – creating systems resilient to economic crisis, resource depletion and climate change – and improve our wellbeing along the way. We’ll hear from:

– The head grower at Ipswich’s Oak Tree Low Carbon Farm (Suffolk’s first Community Supported Agriculture Scheme);

– A member of Ipswich’s first Pig Club, Acorn Antics;

– Suffolk’s first housing co-operative, Random Camel;

– The organiser of Transition Ipswich’s small but thriving community orchard;

– A member of our long-running wholefoods cooperative, Ipswich Ripple Food Co-op; and

– One of the 30 Mile Local Food Challenge gang to talk about the challenge.

It’ll be an Open Space session – allowing for new ideas to flow and grow – come and join us! More information is on the poster here – please help us spread the word!

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We’ve completed the challenge, hurrah!

Thanks to those who came to our final event at the People’s Community Garden on Sunday.  We were a small group but all full of ideas and stories about how we’ve managed the challenge for the last 30 days. We had some really positive feedback about our cooking sessions too, which is great! The pizza oven will be a lasting legacy of the project, ready to be fired up in future years by PCG volunteers and Transitioners alike. We were happy to see it churning out pizzas one last time during the challenge.

Dave masters the oven

Much excitement at super speedy pizzas!

Happy Challengers sharing a final pizza 🙂

Our organisers have been blogging about their experiences throughout so check out how they got on.  A participant in Waldringfield has also done a fantastic blog worth checking out; we’ve shared her dilemmas along the way and have enjoyed thinking through what ‘eat local’ really means. We’d love to hear how you fared with the challenge – what was your downfall (if anything)?! And have any of your shopping and/or cooking habits changed for the future? There’s still plenty of time for reflection on what we’ve learned, and of course, producer maps to update, and successful recipes to write and upload.

For those of you who picked up our fold-out leaflet, we hope it will stay on your fridge as a quick reference guide to find producers and retailers throughout the year. There’s now a scanned copy available to download here, and in the ‘Useful Docs’ section on the right if you missed it in the flesh. We hope to keep adding to our recipe pages and producer maps on this site, so keep the web address handy.

We’d encourage anyone who has heard about the challenge, or indeed done it, to check out the links on the right-hand pane to other sources of information about local food and sustainability in and around Ipswich. For updates on local food projects in Suffolk, Kirsty’s blog will be updated regularly, and for more events related to Transition and local food, the Transition website and Green Living Centre site are good places to return to.  One of our participants Rona also has a Green Footsteps site with more information about green issues, including recipes, growing food and orchards. We’ll also keep this site live as a reference for the future.

To contact us, you can email 30milefoodchallenge@gmail.com.  If you’re a producer, retailer or pub/restaurant serving local food, we’d like to hear from you. If you’re a past or future challenge participant don’t hesitate to get in touch. We hope you’ll have another go with us next year!

Happy sourcing, cooking and eating, from the Transition Ipswich Food Group.

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Into the Final Week of the Challenge and another Party!

For those of you who have been following the Challenge, the end is in sight. For those who have not yet started, it’s not too late to have a go, even for a day.  We hope you have discovered some great food along the way, and a few surprises in things you can, and cannot get hold of, and how much of a change in your shopping and eating habits it has required. Most people we know have had fun doing it, but keeping to it strictly has been hard, especially when away from home and when you are with other people eating a global diet.

Events this week include a talk on Tuesday 25th (7.30pm)  by local organic small-holder Dave Penny to Ipswich Organic Gardeners at the Methodist Church Hall on Landseer Road, Ipswich, IP3 9LX. This is a rare picture of Dave apple pressing this summer.  It’s been a terrible harvest for him and almost all fruit growers.

The Cook Local session on Wednesday is full, however on Wednesday during the day there are chutney making sessions at Poppy’s Pantry in Woodbridge, from 9.30-12pm and 12.30-3pm.  Call or email Lisa Williams if you’re keen as there may be spaces left! 01394 389599, or Lisa.williams2@suffolk.gov.uk.

End of Challenge Party Sunday 30th September

Weather permitting, we will be firing up the Clay Oven we built earlier in the month at the Peoples Community Garden (see below)  from 2pm. Everyone is welcome to come and join us for some communal pizza cooking, and anything else we can fit in the oven, to celebrate the end of the Challenge and share experiences.  Maybe even talk about what happens next for Transition Ipswich and our next projects!  Bring pizza toppings, drinks, plates and mugs (not glasses) and any other food you want to share.

The People’s Community Garden is at the eastern end of the Maidenhall Allotments, Halifax Road Ipswich, IP2 8RE.   The  Pedestrian entrance is, by the wind turbine halfway along the lane running between Wherstead and Halifax Roads. If you are coming by car, parking is available in Halifax Road (access from Maidenhall Approach. If on bike or by foot you can also get access from Wherstead Road. The lane is opposite Orwell Furniture.

So we have an idea of numbers (for pizza dough) please e-mail 30milefoodchallenge@gmail.com by Saturday night, if possible.

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Fun had by all at our 3rd Cook Local session

We’re still buzzing with excitement after sourcing, cooking and heartily munching through 5 courses of local vegetarian food last night at the WI kitchen in Ipswich.

Thanks go out to the 10 lovely people who came to learn new dishes with our fantastic volunteer chef Lesley Bennett, who helped them cook up a mushroom ragout, butternut squash curry, barlotti bean barlotto, baked raspberry-stuffed apples and a classic Suffolk apple crumble. We finished the meal tasting 10 local apples donated by the Suffolk Traditional Orchards Group, paired with 3 delicious Suffolk cheeses. Is your mouth watering yet? Ours certainly were!

In all the excitement we forgot to take photos, but thanks go to to an enthusiastic attendee Elene, who snapped some of the courses on her phone for us. We started with a mushroom ragout using local Trimley mushrooms and Marybelle cream. The mushrooms smelled and tasted amazing! We had this as a starter with a nutmeg mash and local Tattingstone greens from Ponds Farm.

Mushroom ragout starter, with nutmeg mash and local greens

Next up, a two-pronged main course of butternut squash curry and barlotti bean barlotto. Squashes are just coming into season at this time of year, and we were pleased to find barlotti beans growing in Newbourne. The beans come in fantastic purple pods, and with a bit of pre-cooking, gave some additional favour to the barlotto. Barlotto is a local equivalent of risotto using pearl barley, which is grown right here in Suffolk. It takes a little longer to cook than arborio rice (40 minutes or so), but was really worth the wait. Both dishes were packed with colourful local veg, including sweet red peppers from Newbourne, which I also found growing in lots of other farms near Ipswich.

Butternut squash curry and barlotti bean barlotto, topped with Shipcord cheese

We were amazed that a 500g bag of pearl barley (75 pence) gave us enough barlotto for us all to eat, and about half of us to take another portion home. A genuinely affordable protein! We bought ours from Norfolk distributor Shire Foods – a slight cheat as it will have gone out of the county for packaging and distribution – but our chef Lesley knows a local farmer who grows it. The challenge now is to find these local growers who can sell direct to us. Like the Great British Bean project, which seeks to find a local market for Suffolk fava beans, it would be fantastic to boost the local market for pearl barley, to avoid all the transportation costs of moving it around the country for packing and selling.  It would be great to be able to buy Suffolk-grown pearl barley in local shops, instead of relying on regional and national importers and distributors. Perhaps this can be a future Transition project?

To finish the meal we had an apple feast, and to call it a feast was not an understatement! As if we weren’t already pretty stuffed by this point, we all found room for a well-stuffed apple. Foraged blackberries and some raspberries from Hubbard’s Hall farm in Bentley, just outside of Ipswich, were stuffed into cored apples, sourced from the Suffolk Traditional Orchards Group leader Paul Read, who supplied apples from his orchards in Thrandesdon. We also used some large Grenadier cookers to make a big crumble.

Baked apple with raspberry and blackberry coulis

Finally we had a cheese and apple tasting board, with 10 varieties of apples grown in Suffolk. From the well known local St Edmund’s  Russet and Lady Henniker, to more interesting ‘aquired tastes’ of suspected Suffolk originators, such as the Black Colman and Red Ellison, many were a little sharp and early but it was great to see the variety of apples grown here. By growing a sufficient variety of apples, and with careful harvesting and storing, Paul told us he eats his local apples all year round!  Paired with Suffolk Farmhouse Cheeses‘ gold and blue, and a Rodwell Farm Dairy mature Shipcord, we all went home very well fed.

Thanks to everyone who came and joined us, and to our wonderful chef Lesley for sharing her knowledge and skills with us.  It was a great opportunity to share cookery tips amongst a group, and great fun eating the fruits of the evening’s labour together afterwards. As we supped homemade elderflower wine to celebrate, we concluded that a (largely) 30 mile meal is definitely possible and pretty affordable. See Kirsty’s blog for details on how she sourced the ingredients, and some example costs. Local veg is cheap and delicious!

The final Cook Local Session in next Wednesday:  local game. We’re looking forward to seeing some familiar and new faces for our final session, and even starting to dream up ideas for a regular cooking/supper club. Watch this space!

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Inaugural oven firing a success!

Despite a lengthy process lighting the oven, we had a great pizza party down at the  People’s Community Garden on Friday evening. People brought their toppings and enjoyed adding them to the dough, kindly made for us in advance by K Bar in Ipswich. We declared mozzarella a wildcard for the evening and enjoyed lots of cheesy delights!

The pizzas were not quite the “cook in 3 minutes” variety we hoped for, but after giving each 15 minutes each we cooked them all eventually and had some lovely fresh salads to go with them. Susannah from the community garden picked some of their fresh basil to go on top, which smelled delicious. Here’s some photos of the results!

Rolling bases and adding toppings

First pizza goes in!

And finally they start coming out!

Happy attendees getting stuck in.

Thanks to everyone who came to enjoy some local pizzas, and to everyone who helped build the oven last weekend. Here’s to many more uses for local pizzas and bread in the future!

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The Pizza Oven is Fired up and ready to Go!

Gemma and I removed the sand dome inside the oven this afternoon – and it didn’t collapse!  After a lot of dying embers, puffing and smoke in our eyes we got a fire lit, which should help to dry it out from the inside. So The Pizza Party tomorrow, Friday 7th is definitely ON.






5.30-8.30 at the People’s Community Garden. Don’t worry about arriving for the start, as we will be cooking through the evening. Pedestrian access to the PCG (there is no parking on site, if you bring a car park in Halifax Road) is from the gate on the lane between Halifax Road and Wherstead Road.


  • £1 per head charge to cover the cost of the pizza dough etc.
  • pizza toppings of your choice (preferably local but Mozzarella is a declared a Wildcard for the night),
  • drink,
  • a salad or something to go with Pizza (to share) and
  • a plate (plastic or non-breakable), a plastic mug and a fork each.
  • an old baking tray if you have one, no larger than 35cm max in width.


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Tuesday Update, 4th September 2012

There are still 3 places available for the Cook Local Pasta Making evening tomorrow,  Wednesday 5th, £10 each (see Events for more details).  Contact Lucy on Ips 250499 by 10am Wednesday to book.

Upcoming events include the Pizza Party on Friday, see below, the Food Foraging Walk in Woodbridge and the Stanton Mill Open Day on Sunday

Sunday 2nd September, Day 2 of the Challenge saw a group of us finish off the clay oven at The People’s Community Garden. Our technique definitely got better as we went along.

It was much easier to mix the clay into the sand, rather than starting with the clay and adding sand to it.

Baked potato sized balls of sand/clay worked best.

The door was cut out by master knife-man Will.

An upside-down sand bag supported by 4 metal poles was used to protect the oven from the sun and rain while it dried out.

We are planning to take out the sand inside the oven on Thursday, and hoping that the oven will have dried out enough to be used at our Pizza Party, scheduled for 5.30-8.30pm on Friday.  The weather is looking good all week so fingers’ crossed!

We’ll update the website on Thursday night to confirm plans for the party. Check here to make sure it is happening. If you are thinking of coming please phone Ips 250499 by 10pm Thursday, or e-mail 30milefoodchallenge@gmail.com as we are getting the K-Bar bakers to make the pizza dough for us on Friday and want a rough idea of numbers. We won’t turn anyone away but don’t want to run short on dough unnecessarily.

Please bring along things to go on the pizzas (the more local the better), drink and a salad of some sort to share, and a mug or plastic cup for your drink. If you have an old baking tray (no more than 35cm wide or long) that you are happy to put in the oven do bring that too. The cost will be £1 per head.

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The Challenge begins at last!

Saturday 1st September 2012

We have reached day 1 of the 30 Mile Local Food Challenge. We’re all very excited about eating local food for the next month and supporting our local producers here in Suffolk!

Building the clay oven, part 1.

We have had a fantastic launch day today at the People’s Community Garden, building a clay oven (see left), swapping seeds and tools, and visiting the community bee hives. Thanks to those of you who came down to join in!

It’s been a busy few weeks preparing for the challenge; we’ve been distributing our mini-directory at the Ipswich Food Festival, and to all the retailers supporting the challenge – not to mention getting in supplies of local food ready for today! It’s great that the time is finally upon us to grow, shop and eat local. If you haven’t picked up a directory yet, pick one up at our next event, or check out the pages on this website to see our producer and retailer maps.

Our project coordinator Lucy is featured in today’s East Anglian Daily Times, and appeared on ICR and BBC Radio Suffolk this week; it’s great to see so much interest in the challenge! We are continuing to learn and discover new retailers and producers and would love to hear about new ones you’ve come across. This week we discovered the Suffolk Garlic Farm, ready to supply us with local garlic to brighten up all our local veg. We’ll be adding their details to the website in the next few days.

We’ll soon be blogging about our experiences undertaking the challenge on the blogs pages, sharing our ideas and recipes. Lucy has kicked it all off with her first post – read all about her challenge preparations (and saying goodbye to the beloved bananas) here.  What can’t you live without? We’d like to hear about what you’re keeping and giving up this month, so please do leave us comments on the site.

There’ll soon be more on the recipes page too; Kirsty has already tried some delicious bean burgers with Suffolk fava beans which she’s keen to share. Please do email us your successful recipes so we can publish them for others too.

There are plenty more events planned over the coming weeks, including a “Transition 2” film showing on Monday in Woodbridge, and our first Cook Local course on Wednesday – this time we’re making local pasta which should be great fun. We still have a few more spaces so sign up if you’re keen; details are here. Our full events listing is on the events page so have a look and see what you fancy.

We hope to see you at events in the coming weeks and wish you luck with your 30 Mile Challenge, be it for the month, the week, or just a few meals – every little change to your shopping habits supports our local producers and economy.

Most of all, have fun and enjoy it!

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Even Bigger Garden Party event at the People’s Community Garden

Our second event was a presence at the Even Bigger Garden Party, organised by the People’s Community Garden on Maidenhall allotments in Ipswich. Transition Ipswichers were there demonstrating how to press local rapeseed oil thanks to a loan of an oil press from local rapeseed oil producer, Hill Farm Oils. We had lots of families come and try their hand at pressing, which was a great way to demonstrate how a local crop can produce a wonderful local product from within 30 miles of Ipswich.

Team effort: pressing for rape seed oil at the People’s Community Even Bigger Garden Party

We talked to lots of people about the challenge, and all the other local food initiatives happening in Ipswich, including Ipswich Pig Club, the Local Foods Suffolk project, Maidenhall Community Orchard and the Oak Tree Low Carbon Farm vegetable CSA.

Promoting Transition and lots of other local food initiatives in Suffolk.

The raffle for the local food hamper brought lots of interest from passers by and we had lots of people sign up to find out more about the challenge come September. The hard graft of researching and mapping all the producers now continues, along with the production of a small directory of producers to get people started. Watch this space for publication, coming later in July!

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Launch event a great success!

Festival of Green Ideas banner

Thanks to the sterling efforts of a number of Transition Ipswichers helping coordinate and man our stand, we had a fantastic launch day in May at the Festival of Green Ideas! The Friends Meeting House on Fonnereau Road was buzzing with green initiatives, talks, stalls, and lots of people interested in local food and our 30-30 challenge.

Lots of people came to talk to us to find out about it and almost 30 newbies signed up for the challenge; what a great start!  The children enjoyed playing our local lunch box game and we also spoke to a handful of people about a new Garden Share idea, to help people link up to get unused gardens growing local food.  We also promoted the Transition Ipswich orchard, also known as the Maidenhall Community Orchard, which now needs helpers to mow and maintain it since the planting last year. Get in touch if you’re interested in being involved in growing local fruit here.

The Local Food Cafe run by Gemma and Kate and their band of merry helpers was a roaring success – yummy asparagus and mushroom quiches, local rolls and nettle soup, foraged salads and lots of gorgeous cakes. The locally sourced menu they put together is something we were so proud of, thanks ladies! We’ve uploaded a photo of the menu below to inspire you to cook some local summery lunches.  It was wonderful to support local producers and show that cooking local meals is perfectly possible, and to a modest budget. Thanks to everyone who helped make the day so fantastic and get the message out. We hope all who came were inspired to join in!

We are now in the process of data inputting everyone’s email addresses for a new mailing list, watch this space for an email update. We are going to be involved in a number of events between July and August so check out out new events calendar (on the right) and come along if you want to get involved.

We’re also working on our local food map and meeting lots of great producers. If you are one, or want to tell us about one you have discovered, get in touch. You can leave a comment below or contact us at our email address: 30milefoodchallenge@gmail.com.

Local Food Cafe Menu, 12th May

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