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A visit from Gemma – supporting local food

Gemma from Sustainweb paid a visit to the Westcliff on Sea Food Coop and Growing Together. She offers support to food oriented projected, have a read below.

I’ve just come into a new post as East of England Food Co-ops Adviser, and i wanted to contact you all as people potentially interested in setting up, or already involved in, food co-ops where you live.

The Making Local Food Work programme has taken on advisers in each government region to support and promote community food co-operatives, out of a belief that they build social cohesion, encourage healthier eating, raise awareness of seasonality, benefit the local economy, keep growing skills alive, bolster local resilience by opting out of the multinational supermarket hegemony…i could go on but i think you know what i mean!

We want to see lots of new food co-ops set up! And to improve the sustainability of those that exist. My role involves finding existing food co-ops  and mapping them on the Food Co-ops Finder website: www.foodcoops.org
My definition of ‘food co-op’ encompasses small wholefood buying groups, veg box/bag schemes, veggie van deliveries, markets – anything where a community comes together in a non-profit way to meet their dietary needs.
Online mapping will hopefully make it easier for people seeking a food co-op to join, as they can stick in their postcode and a map appears with what co-ops exist nearby.

If you’re in a food co-op, please go ahead and add your details to the Food Co-ops Finder website. Even if you don’t want more members, please consider adding yourselves without contact details, for the map’s sake! East Anglia is looking skimpy!

If you’re a member of a food co-op i’d love to come see how it’s run, how you’re set up, so i have a chance to learn from different models, and also i can offer you specialist advice both myself and through the partners on the MLFW programme – Co-ops UK, the Soil Association…
Perhaps you want to expand your customer base, or to learn consensus decision making because those interminable meetings are driving you mad?

If you don’t have a food co-op near you but you want to join one or set one up, I would like to help you!
Setting up a food co-op can be a really easy first step for communities to start taking control.

What i can offer for FREE is:

*The Food Co-ops Toolkit: www.sustainweb.org/foodcoopstoolkit/
This is a comprehensive guide to setting up and running a food co-op in all manner of forms. There is a paper version on request.

*Coming to do presentations like ‘How to set up a food co-op’ to your group

*Access to specialist advice on business plans, governance and legal structures, co-operative principles in practice, marketing, financial sustainability

*Training days, workshops, exchange visits to other food co-ops and mentoring

*Local food newsletters

*Colourful leaflets, posters and banners to promote your food co-op

So, please do get in touch.

My official press release is attached too, if you know of any foodie or green local magazines or newsletters to forward it to, i’d be very grateful.
Also if you are part of or know organisations in your area dealing with local food or communities and food access, i’d love to have their contact details!


Gemma Sayers
East of England Food Co-ops Adviser




One Response

  1. […] A visit from Gemma – supporting local food […]

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