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A Growing Trade - a guide for community groups growing food to sell in our towns and cities

This Local Action on Food report highlights the commercial opportunities for community grown food and showcases initiatives that are doing it already. The report shows examples of food that is being produced as close to the market place as possible and the opportunities for community food growing projects to make links more widely in the community as well as generate income to contribute towards project costs and to lift the ambitions of the people involved.

08/06/2012
Capital Growth
2012 - 80pp

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A growing trade - a guide for community groups that want to grow and sell food in our our towns and citiesThis Local Action on Food report highlights the commercial opportunities for community grown food and showcases initiatives that are doing it already. 

The report shows examples of food that is being produced as close to the market place as possible and the opportunities for community food growing projects to make links more widely in the community as well as generate income to contribute towards project costs and to lift the ambitions of the people involved.

What can be more exciting and sustainable than buying vegetables and herbs grown by someone down the road? Having a chef serve fresh organic salad from a community food growing site harvested just hours before service? Buying delicious urban honey at a local farmers market? These are just some of the amazing examples of food that is being grown by local people in our towns and cities and sold to local people who are keen to buy it.

A Growing Trade looks at the nuts and bolts of how this can happen and the opportunities for community food growing projects to trade more of their own produce and, in doing so, get some independence (from short-term grants) and contribute to the economic vitality of their neighbourhood.

A Growing Trade  A Growing Trade  A Growing Trade  A Growing Trade

"Food growing projects are not only empowering people to take back control over how their food is produced and sold, they can also improve the appearance of the local environment and strengthen relationships in local communities by bringing life and activity to disused areas."

The report covers mainly fruit and vegetable cultivation and sales, as these are the most common crops produced in our town and cities. There are also fewer regulations governing their production and sale, than there are for livestock products. However, it also looks at examples of animal products including honey, eggs and fish being produced and sold in an urban environment.


Report contents

Introduction

  • The problem with our food system
  • Communities growing their own
  • Funding for community food growing
  • Community food growing - growing up
  • A Growing Trade

Land issues for communities in cities growing and selling food

  • Finding the plot
  • Help with negotiating land
  • Taking on land for commercial purposes
  • Community food growing and the Allotment Act
  • Selling produce from allotment land
  • Using buildings for growing and selling food
  • Planning permission

Jobs, apprenticeships and volunteers

  • Creating jobs through trading produce
  • Selling community grown produce as part of a wider trading enterprise
  • Apprenticeships: Growing a work force
  • Volunteers

Local investment in your venture

  • Community Supported Agriculture
  • Going private

Finding customers and promoting what you do

  • Market research
  • Planning your route to market
  • Unique selling points
  • Communicating with your customers

Urban Crops

  • Salads, herbs and niche crops
  • Honey
  • Fish
  • Processed produce
  • The right market
  • Selling directly to restaurants
  • Distributing through a box scheme
  • Selling from a market stall

Preparing produce to sell

  • Safe soil
  • Labelling
  • Organic certification
  • Packaging
  • Weights and measures
  • Permits and licensing to sell food from a market stall
  • Public liability insurance

What should you do with the money you make?

  • Having a bank account
  • Taking money
  • Pricing
  • Money: the who, how and what

What kind of enterprise?

  • Business planning
  • Unincorporated associations
  • Incorporation

Directory of case studies

  • Avon Organic Group
  • Ecoworks
  • FARM:shop
  • Food From the Sky
  • Growing Communities
  • Moffat CAN
  • Organiclea
  • The Wenlock Herb Garden
  • Other interviewed projects and examples of community trading

Funding and local food organisations

  • Funding organisations
  • Other useful organisations: National
  • Regional support and local networks: London

Appendices

References

Photo credits and thanks

 

The Capital Growth campaign, run by Sustain's London Food Link offers practical and financial support to communities around London to help more people grow more food, and to have greater access to land and growing spaces for community benefit. The Capital Bee project, part of Capital Growth, seeks pledges to promote bee-friendly behaviour, and supports establishment of community beehives.

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Sustain advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, promote equity and enrich society and culture.