SAF was launched in 2009 as a centre for the teaching of artisan food producing skills at varying levels. Funded by European money, it has facilities dedicated to teaching baking, cheese making and charcuterie. A charitable trust, it also acts as a venue for the exchange of ideas about the food system and a base for the development of community projects. Striving towards the difficult goal of good food for all, its practice looks at social, psychological and economic issues around the food chain, but its core work is teaching skills courses that last from one day to one year. Its 90 diploma graduates have started many small artisan food businesses and many social enterprises have used SAF courses to upskill their staff.
A lottery funded project has worked with local schools on healthy eating and SAF's annual Food for Thought weekend brings cutting edge speakers to central England. Its eating after cancer courses are being used as a model for programmes at Maggie's Centres. This year It co-founded the small food awards for microproducers, but it also does some development work with large food producers. In order to retain an independent voice it does not take funding from Big Food. It fundraises for bursaries for its 10 month Diploma in baking and this academic year will enrol its first fully funded refugee student. It works closely with third sector organisations, including a joint project with neighbouring Rhubarb Farm with whom it will share a tent at the 2017 RHS flower show. Service users with very challenging lives are building a 1940s vegetable patch and will help with SAF's artisan food demos. We are also writing an NVQ in artisan baking to go into the skills and qualifications framework.