Transition Town Totnes (TTT)'s Food-Link project recently hosted 'Food for the Future', an event that invited all of the key players in the local food economy together, organisations and individuals that represent a diverse range of interests in the issues surrounding local food, including large and small retailers, producers and processors; educational institutions such as Schumacher and Bicton College and community projects such as the Drop-In Centre and the Children's Centre in Bridgetown.
The vision for the event was that by bringing a diverse range of people associated with our local food economy together we could jointly explore a more collaborative approach to doing business that would bring mutual benefits for all, through efficiencies of scale and sharing resources, knowledge and markets. Attendees were split in to 6 tables and asked to discuss the gaps in provision of local food infrastructure.
The result was an enthusiastic, bubbling cauldron of discussion and ideas. With over 60 people attending the event there was a real sense of hunger for more of a joint working approach. As Frances Northrop, Manager at TTT explained recent research undertaken in the Totnes and District Economic Blueprint showed that two thirds of Totnes' local food spend is made in the two supermarkets in the town. This makes it clear that there is little point in small, local businesses competing with each other, instead by working together we can begin to create a real alternative to the perceived convenient and cheap supermarkets and in so doing keep money and meaningful, personal jobs in the town and surrounding area.
Ideas that came out of the discussion included creating a local brand in order to make it easier to identify local food throughout the town; setting up a community kitchen; providing a platform for sharing information and resources for instance on gluts and equipment; local composting facilities for waste food from catering establishments and a regular local food market.
If you would be interested in helping to make any of these activities happen or are involved in food production, processing or retailing and would like to be kept informed of Food-Link activities please drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org