2010 updates on food co-ops and buying groups
We have already far exceeded our target of helping 200 food co-ops. We have also given out more toolkits, banners and leaflets to food co-ops across the country, have responded to several enquiries from groups wanting to set up new food co-ops and, following the production of our food co-op fact sheets, have continued to target schools, universities and workplaces.
Our food co-op advisers have also been organising a series of regional events, often in partnership with the Soil Association, for new and existing food co-ops and buying groups. Our regional food co-op advisers have also attended numerous other events to do stalls, talks, workshops or just give out leaflets.
Over the last quarter our team of regional food co-ops advisers has been providing one-to-one advice and support to over 50 existing, new and potential food co-ops throughout England. The advisers have continued to promote the project in a variety of ways, leading to exploratory meetings with, for example, Primary Care Trusts, Trussel Trust Food Banks, health and wellbeing support projects for black and minority ethnic groups, and the National Federation of Women’s Institutes. Sustain and the Soil Association are working together to produce a series of fact sheets on setting up food co-ops and buying groups in particular settings and so far have produced them for schools and universities, with another on workplaces almost complete.
Working with universities
The university fact sheet has been promoted to national organisations including the Slow Food on Campus project. In the autumn term there will be more promotion as part of Freshers Week, in conjunction with the student organisation People & Planet, who are enthusiastic about promoting food projects to their members.
We have also been organising a series of regional networking events and workshops to bring existing food co-ops and buying groups together and to provide more information for new or potential food co-ops. These events have so far taken place in Birmingham, Bedford, and Manchester and we have started to plan a national joint conference with the Soil Association on food co-ops, organic buying groups and Community Supported Agriculture projects (CSAs), which will be held on 20 October.
We continue to promote the project via Facebook and Twitter, which together have over 1,000 followers, as well as continuing to send out our regular e-newsletter.