When you buy your food locally, you are investing in creating a robust, resilient and sustainable local economy. More of the money spent locally will remain in the local community, as the profits are not going to large corporations who will invest that money elsewhere – nationally or internationally. It is estimated that 80% of money spent locally will remain locally, compared to 20% of money spent with national companies. Research findings suggest that the recent increase in income inequality has been driven by the consolidation of the supply of goods and services by large corporations, so buying locally may be a way to address this.
It creates job and learning opportunities
When local enterprises are supported, they can become a place for local people to gain worthwhile work experience, learn and develop new skills, find better employment in the future, or start their own businesses. With growth, corporations often move production to large and remote locations to reduce costs and therefore increase profit – consequently reducing opportunities for employment for people in urban environments – small scale local economic enterprise does not do this.
Local people get access to better food at a better price
Small local enterprises use more careful and accountable production methods, which means you know where your food is coming from, how it was grown and what you are ingesting! By cutting out the middle men in long supply chains, short food supply chains which connect the consumer more directly with the producer can provide food at better prices for both parties. Food grown locally can also be picked when it is at its best, and as the time from farm to plate is vastly reduced, there is less loss of nutrients due to lengthy transport, and there is no need for the use of chemicals or plastic to preserve food, so you get fresher, safer, more delicious produce.
If you are from the Tang Hall area, become a member of the Tang Hall Food Coop. You can volunteer with us at the allotment or the shop, and shape what we are doing and how we are doing it - it is a cooperative after all! We can share ideas, learn from each other, and help the food cooperative to grow. We will meet at least twice a week and work together at the allotment or in the shipping container shop. Don't worry if you've never done anything like this before, all you need to be is interested and willing to help - everyone can offer something worthwhile to the cooperative.
We will be having regular lunches with food we've grown on the allotment and bits and pieces from the shop. We want people to know about all the interesting ways you can cook seasonal and local vegetables and we have chefs who will help you do this. Even if you don't want to cook, you can still come along, enjoy a meal, meet other local people and find out more about what we're doing. Sharing a meal is one of the best ways to find some common ground - people from all walks of life come to the community centre, and everyone's got a story to tell.
Once our shop launches, we will aim to have a good stock of wholefoods so you can buy all of your food locally, ethically and sustainably. The prices will be good, as we will be buying in bulk at wholesale prices (from ethical suppliers), and passing those savings on to you, by selling at the same wholesale prices but in small quantities. Tang Hall residents can apply for a membership card with additional benefits. All the produce will be carefully sourced, and we won't be using plastic packaging. We will also have recipe cards to help you make the most of the seasonal vegetables.