A Cambridgeshire farmer has embarked on a challenging project in the villages of Alconbury and Alconbury West, that will unite schools, businesses and growing enthusiasts in a bid to create a self-sufficient village.

The brainchild of Anthony Davison, Alconbury resident, farmer and founder of local food and drink website, the Alconbury Community Food Scheme will see local school children at Alconbury Primary School, allotment growers and businesses working together with the small village shop to help the village become as self-sufficient as possible.

The scheme, which is already underway, aims to ensure that all food grown in the village is retained by the village, with all surplus crops being sold through the local shop and promising prices 15% cheaper than the supermarket.

An extension of BigBarn's Crop for the Shop initiative (where local growers provide surplus produce to their local shop) and a case study for BigBarn's Make One Change Campaign which takes place in May and aims to encourage shoppers to buy locally, the community food scheme is already helping to unite the village and allow school children – who are the future of farming in Britain – to really get involved and understand the importance of local food and fresh produce.

“The school, local people and farmers will be encouraged to grow, and trade, food so that everyone is reconnected with where their food comes from, cooks seasonal produce, wastes less, and saves money,” explains Anthony Davison who is the driving force behind the scheme.

“The school and local people are already growing a small amount of fruit and veg, and there is a forgotten community orchard, but the vast majority shop at supermarkets ten miles away and are disconnected with where their food comes from, and lack the knowledge, and will, to cook with fresh, seasonal ingredients,” he continues. “The hope is that this local food industry will bring back the excitement of the food seasons and demand will grow with supply and the lost generation of Mum’s who hate cooking will be energised to cook with their children who have cooked the food they have grown at school.”

“We are passionate about being an active part of our local community and working with the community to grow vegetables is part of this,” explains Hannah Mulcrone, Deputy Head at Alconbury Primary School. “This scheme is important because it teaches children and adults so much about food production, economics and sustainability. It also teaches the importance of working in a team and utilising the skills of many different people.”

Although growing your own isn't currently part of the national curriculum, schools are able to include these disciplines as part of their learning and Hannah feels it would be good if more schools started a scheme like this one.

“We are hoping that what we have started at Alconbury School and within the community will encourage more schools and local communities to do something similar,” continues Anthony Davison. “Our Make One Change Campaign aims to encourage more people to shop locally and think about what they are buying and we feel this community food scheme highlights the importance of uniting communities through food and the difference it can make,” he concludes.

As part of the food scheme, Alconbury Primary School is also running a competition to design the front of the 'invitation’ that will be sent out to every household to get involved in the scheme. This aims to ignite the passion in the children, their parents and hopefully both villages.

Continues Anthony Davison, “There is a trend away from the big, one-stop shop to more local shopping. What is needed is real incentive to change and to harness the most powerful influencers of all, our children! This project could completely change the way people in the two villages think about food and come together to enjoy food. It would be great if it lead to street parties, hog roasts of village fetes. It's about bringing communities together and teaching them about real food.”

For more information about the food scheme contact Anthony at or to arrange an interview, or for images contact or call 07733 261843.

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