One of the things we’ve heard a lot from our business members, especially restaurants, is how hard it is to source fruit and veg from local producers. The simple fact is that the way a farmer wants to sell veg and the way a restaurant wants to buy veg does not match up. While not impossible, it takes a lot of work from both sides to make such a direct relationship work.
Based on models run elsewhere in the country, we believe there is a need for a cooperatively run business that exists to supply locally produced restaurants and businesses with fruit and vegetables. Such a business would prioritise locality and provenance of the produce over price, always sourcing from local producers where possible. Prices would be set based on cost of production rather than market rate, meaning that producers are paid a fair price for what they produce. Crop planning would ensure that growers are not in competition with each other, and that they are growing the crops that the businesses wish to buy.
The cooperative itself would handle all the ordering – finding out availability from producers, gathering and consolidating orders from the businesses and placing these with producers, receiving the deliveries of produce and distributing this across the city to the businesses
The cooperative structure of such an organisation would give its producer and business members a genuine voice in how it is run and the decisions made. It would be managed by a board representing both producer and business members, with day to day running falling on a coop manager.
This project is still in the early planning stages but if you are a restaurant or business looking to source local produce, or a local producer looking to sell through this route to market, please get in touch via email@example.com