The Food4Macc organisation was formally dissolved in November 2022 after 13 successful years, when its public liability insurance cost became disproportionately high for the level of activity being undertaken.

It was established in 2009 as a voluntary group that aimed to ensure that food growing skills were retained, making us more resilient to fluctuations in the price and availability of our food.

Food4Macc was instrumental in establishing numerous food-growing community gardens in various public spaces in Macclesfield; and at many local schools and care homes.

It also ran a garden share scheme matching up owners of under-used gardens in the Macclesfield area with aspiring growers – typically taken from the allotment waiting list.

This website records what Food4Macc accomplished and is a source of information that some other voluntary groups might find useful. (For example, its lessons learned, policies, procedures and sources of funding).

Several of our volunteers are interested in supporting similar projects on an informal basis in the future, and they can be contacted via this email address:-

The retiring committee members

Updated November 2022.

Our Three Main Activities were:-

Community Gardens

Grow your own food as part of a friendly group, and
learn from experienced gardeners.

Our volunteers also helped build new vegetable gardens and orchards, and advise on their maintenance. more

Garden Sharing

Bypass the allotment waiting list!
We matched up gardeners with disused vegetable plots.

more details

Watch the Food4Macc gardenshare video
See the Video

Buy Local Food

We have published an
 updated on-line directory
of local food sources

The web page separately lists Retailers, Producers, and has an interactive Google Map.

If you want to know where you can get a particular brand that was previously sold by Food4MaccDirect, we have published a table in the form of a PDF file that you can print and share.

Food4Macc aimed to engage members of the community to develop local food supplies
using these strategies from the Transition Town movement:-

Over 7 million tons of food is thrown away each year, costing each household £50 a month.

The Love Food Hate Waste website offers lots of simple tips to reduce food waste

What was it all about?

We had become dependent on oil for fertilisers and for fuel to transport our food from distant sources.

About 40% of the food we eat was imported. That includes an astounding 95% of our fruit and most of the wheat in our bread.

This reliance on food from abroad is perilous. During the 2000 fuel strike, Sainsbury's chief executive wrote to the prime minister to warn that food supplies would run out "in days rather than weeks". Supermarkets rationed bread, sugar and milk.

Meanwhile, cheap high-quality fruit and veg in the supermarkets have discouraged us from growing our own food. Children no-longer learn these skills from their parents, and small farms have become non-viable.

If we look 10 or 20 years ahead, we can anticipate that higher oil costs will reverse these trends and it seems like a good idea to plan accordingly; to encourage local growing of food, and to reduce our dependence on oil-derived fertilisers.

Individuals may feel impotent in the face of this coming storm, but communities working together can be powerful. Some 150 towns around the UK have started "Transition Town" movements, which have demonstrated how much can be achieved.

Typical strategies include making disused land available for allotments, ensuring that food-growing skills are re-learned and practised, planting of fruit trees in public places; encouraging supermarkets to promote locally grown produce. etc.

We have a short PowerPoint presentation which you view as slideshow or as a printable pdf document.

Our History

Our interest in this subject was kindled by a Sunday Times article by John Paul Flintoff in April 2009, and we started to sound-out our friends. Download the Sunday Times article as a PDF file here

Vist to Incredible Edible Todmorden July 2009

In June and July we visited Incredible-Edible Todmorden
and transition town Leek


We decided that rather than aiming to be a Transition Town we would first of all see what we could do about food miles.

We held the first of a series of monthly public meeting at the end of September 2009 and began work on our first community garden at Prestbury Beaumont in December 2009.


Over the next 13 years we had a number of achievements:

  • We established seven community gardens, and supported food growing projects in twelve local schools.

  • We ran a series of evening talks on different food growing topics at All Hallows College, and gave lectures as guest speaker to other local community groups such as W.I. branches.

  • We resurrected the Potato Seed Sale day, which had been started in Bollington, and ran it each year in the Town Hall - until the room hire cost became prohibitive.

  • We matched up fourteen owners of disused vegetable gardens with people to cultivate them under our Garden Share scheme. 

  • We had a formal constitution and public liability insurance in place.

  • In September 2010, we created a sister organisation, Food4MaccDirect, which set out to make it easier to buy local food in Macclesfield. We ran this 'click and collect' service for six years until it became apparent that other businesses had sprung up to serve this market, and it was wrong for us to compete with them using our volunteer labour.

  • Instead we published a directory and map of local food sources on our website.

  • A foraging map shows sources of food in public places such as blackberries and apple trees.

  • In early 2011 we held meetings to launch a Transition Town movement for Macclesfield known as Macc2020.

    We hoped that this would grow to encompass the other aspects of the Transition Town movement, not embraced by Food4Macc. Unfortunately the hierarchical 'management structure' proved ineffective, and the group fizzled out.

    In 2018 the challenge was picked up once again by a new group Macctastic, this time with a collegiate structure that encourages groups interested in topics, such as litter and transport, to act independently and meet occasionally to compare notes in organised public meetings.

  • See our promotional videos page

In the autumn 2022 our public liability insurance premiums were consuming a huge fraction of our income, and we decided it better to dissolve the formal structure of the group, and leave our volunteers free to support causes under their own volition and at their own risk.

The main casualty of this decision was that our bank account had to close, and we would no longer be able to fund projects. The remaining assets were distributed to other local groups with similar aims to our own.

Sources of Funding

Food4Macc was particularly well supported by The William Dean Trust, based in Congleton.
Its stated purpose is:-
“To promote the advancement of education for the public benefit relating to natural history, ecology and conservation of the natural environment.”


Note: HMRC accepted Food4Macc as a charitable organisation entitled to reclaim Gift Aid on donations received - without our formally becoming a charity, or registering with the Charities Commission.

Other Local Sustainability Groups  
Several local groups have aims  that overlap with Food4Macc's aims:-

Macctastic aims to be a forum for all local environmental groups to meet, share ideas, and avoid duplication of effort.




Policies and Procedures
We have retained some documents here in case a new voluntary groups would find them useful as templates for their own procedures.

See our Document Library Page


How to set up a Garden Share Scheme

Sample Draft Agreement for Sharing a Garden

Raised Bed Design and Construction


Lessons Learned
  • We found it worked well to avoid 'central control' of our various activities, and to encourage people to get on with what they wanted to do, at their own pace.

  • Time management: Parents of young children are often the keenest to get involved in sustainability projects, presumably motivated by a desire to secure their childrens' future. However, parents who also work full time quite often find that they don't have much time left to devote to other projects.  That's fine as long as other people aren't kept waiting for decisions or direction as a result.
    So we would caution parents of young children from taking on leadership roles in voluntary groups unless they are very good at time management!

  • Building Raised beds is relatively easy; a working party for a morning can easily be raised, but maintaining the beds requires a much longer term commitment. Food4Macc liked to know who exactly was committed to maintaining the beds, and with schools, who would look after watering in the school holidays.

  • School gardens are very dependent on enthusiastic engagement from a parent or member of staff. Of course staff sometimes change schools, and parents follow their child's progression through the education system.

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