PART of the joy of working for a local food co-operative is meeting like-minded people and organisations, whether it’s our customers who share our vision, our members who support us through volunteering on the van and paying a monthly subscription or other local businesses who are keen to work with us to achieve joint goals.

The past few weeks have seen us form a new relationship with a group based outside our normal trading area but who very much share our vision and ethics.

We first met Bill and Raul, the founders of The L.O.V.E project, at one of their sites in Wootton near Abingdon.

After stomping through the fields in the torrential rain we were welcomed warmly into their self-constructed pallet hut and immediately offered food and a drink.

We discovered the L.O.V.E.

The project works with local people, farms and businesses to improve individual, social, economic and environmental wellbeing.

They have a network of local landowners who offer up their spaces for things like care farming (use of agriculture as a therapy), mindfulness, meditation and yoga, outdoor workshops and education, and community events and local enterprise.

Bill tells me that they currently have two young men with mental health issues working with them, and they have been able to benefit hugely from working outdoors and making friends in the community.

The project also collaborates with S.Gill Newspaper Delivery which has been running for 20 years in and around Wootton.

Cultivate is a very small team and one thing we struggle with is getting our produce to the wide variety of places we’d like to, so it was great when Bill suggested stocking some of our produce in his weekly rounds.

Now on top of newspapers, bread and eggs they are able to stock local apple juice and seasonal fruit and veg.

So far is looks like our produce is being very well received and we’re thrilled to be reaching a new part of the county with our local, ethical and delicious produce.

With the partnership going so well I’m definitely a convert to the power of L.O.V.E.