Buying local produce from local producers, without even having to enter a supermarket, has become a weekly phenomenon thanks to The Food Assembly.
Every week The Food Assembly – which now has more than 900 assemblies across the UK, France, Italy, Germany and Belgium – takes place in a local venue. Each assembly is run by a leader who organises the venues and signs up local producers and growers to the scheme.
Products – which include fruit, vegetables, meat, beer, cheese and more – are advertised on a central website and a local page, and customers order the products they want online based on what the producer has available that week.
Customers make payment online when placing their order and then collect their goods at a weekly event, usually held after office hours. At the weekly collections, customers can meet the people behind the food they buy, as well as get to know their neighbours.
The food collection is a two-hour slot and given that it is pre-sold, it means farmers don’t have to spend long hours at a market not knowing how much they’ll sell or how much produce is required. And for the consumer, it’s a convenient way to buy local produce on one website and collect it at a local venue.
All the food comes from an average of 26 miles, meaning there’s minimal impact on the environment, and there is no food waste as the products are pre-ordered.
According to The Food Assembly, for every £1 spent, 90p stays in the local economy. Selling through The Food Assembly, farmers and foodmakers get over 80% for every product sold, compared to the 15%-25% that most supermarkets offer them.
The Food Assembly, also known as La Ruche qui dit Oui! in French, launched in the UK in 2014 enabling the general public to purchase high quality food while supporting small-scale producers, who create jobs and foster social wellbeing.
There are currently 22 food assemblies in London, including Hackney, Elephant & Castle, Islington, Kings Cross and Roman Road.
Each Food Assembly is an independent and local project while remaining part of The Food Assembly collective.
Companies like The Food Assembly are making it possible for people to take care of their own health and wellbeing, and eat the freshest seasonal food available in their region. By buying food directly from local farmers and food makers, makes it possible for consumers to know where their food comes from first hand, and in turn helps local farmers and food makers know and truly understand their market and what is needed.
It cuts out the “middle man” which in this case is the major supermarkets, returning the UK and parts of Europe to a food buying culture that was the norm not so long ago.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She is a writer who specialises in sustainable lifestyle and living, wellbeing, and entertainments. Rosa also works as a psychic, counsellor, intuitive reader and spiritual life coach helping people to become who they truly are and manifest their heart & soul’s desires into their lives: www.rosalindmedea.com