why local

THE FOOD ASSEMBLY

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France appear to be the European game-changers when it comes to food politics – promoting the local producer and keeping the giant chains arm’s length – with recent news revealing their new legislation placed on the wasteful nature of supermarkets.

Our European neighbours, whether it be France, Italy or even Belgium, are showing us Brits how it should be done when it comes to buying local.  With daily farmers’ markets common place on the continent, it seems that Britain is still struggling to draw crowds at weekly (let alone daily) food markets, with the draw still being to the monotony and the supposed ‘convenience’ of the supermarket.

Whether its a supply and demand issue for the producers, or our disassociation with where food really comes from, British farmers’ markets are few and far between; regardless of small producers, growers and farmers continued efforts to get their products to market.

Thankfully the recent food trend we have been experiencing has come some way to rectify this, but it appears that we still are turning to a European example to help us in our quest to make farmers’ markets common place in Britain once again.

A French initiative called La Ruche Qui Dit Oui – “the hive that says yes” – was introduced to the UK in 2011, and has grow in rapid proportion since its launch.  As a means of buying and selling food that cuts out the aggressive ‘middle man’, it encourages the consumer to have direct access to their local producers; not only building a positive rapport with the farmers and growers, but reinstating a connection between the field and fork.

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Organised by a local leader who arranges a venue, recruits local producers and encourages the public to sign up to the shopping scheme, The Food Assembly combines the convenience of a buying group and the quality of a farmers’ market.

Coming together once a week at an established venue, the convivial nature of a traditional farmers’ market is apparent, but with guaranteed sales for the producer (resulting in no wastage) and a quick shop for the consumer who has already pre-ordered they’re weekly shop online the night before.

With Britain joining this European food revolution, there are now well over 700 self-sufficient assemblies, with Germany and Spain swiftly joining suit. With a strong emphasis on locally produced food from small-scale businesses, The Food Assembly offers a fair environment in which the producer sets their own prices and gives the consumer the opportunity to positively support and help maintain their local economy.

Find out more and search for your local food assembly as well as more information about opening your own local assembly and joining this food revolution.

Words by Helen Upshall
Illustrations = The Food Assembly

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