Peter Couchman is the Chief Executive of the Plunkett Foundation.

The Plunkett Foundation is the organisation which promotes and supports co-operative and social enterprises in rural communities both in the UK and internationally. It provides support, networks and knowledge which offers practical solutions for rural communities that helps to create thriving places where people live and work now and in the future.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Local food - all together now

It's been a week of policy meetings, ranging from political parties to churches. One thing that has stood out for me is how the food agenda has shifted. Not just the rise of food security as an issue, but also in the contribution that we can make.

It's clear to me that the local food movement is in a very different place to where it was just a few years ago. The main focus then was on celebrating individual growers and suppliers, the brave souls who had pioneered the importance of local and who created food of outstanding quality and diversity. They are still there and as inspiring as ever. But the debate has moved on.

The building block has shifted to that of community. How do communities come together to create local food systems to give access to all. This will be a rising issue over the next few weeks and months. The answer isn't clear yet.
Is it a plan?
Is it a co-ordinating committee?
Is it a set of services for suppliers?
Is it an investment vehicle?
Is it an enterprise which exists to support other enterprises?
I'm sure that we will start to see the early pioneers emerging and Making Local Food Work looks forward to working with many of them to build the next stage of the revival of local food.

1 comment:

  1. We think that mainstream, mutual, urban co-operative shops are one answer: new community enterprises that emphasise local food supply. And even better if they take advantage of vacant retail premises on our High Streets that are just left to rot. Take a look at our website: and please pass the link on. (And thanks to Plunkett for helping us develop our business plan!)