Image credit: Development Trusts Association
I recently asked whether organics was the private school of food—nice if you can afford it, but not a realistic option for the mainstream population. Affordability is certainly an issue if local, organic and sustainable food is ever going to bust out of its current market niche. One project in the UK is seeking to make sustainable, local shopping as affordable, and as easy, as going to the supermarket. To do so, they're cutting out the middle man. While some folks are pinning their hopes for affordable, sustainable food on organics at Wal-Mart, or more resource-efficient versions of industrial monoculture, but a project in Stroud, UK is hoping to make buying from local farmers and producers every bit as easy, and almost as affordable, as heading to the supermarket.
By acting as a "food hub". Stroudco food coop is able to bring together a wide variety of producers—from meat, to dairy, to fresh produce—and offer their products to consumers at below-retail prices. Consumers simply go online and select their shopping, and then collect from one centralized location. Of course from CSAs to veg vans in the food desert, there are plenty of other models out there for retailing sustainable food in a more affordable manner. But what marks Stroudco out for me is their ambition and their target—they are explicitly setting out to challenge the supermarkets in terms of both convenience and price.
Good for them.
More on Local, Sustainable and Organic Food
The Veg Van: Refurbished Milk Float Fights Food Deserts
Organics as the Private School of Food
Labeling Food Miles in Japan: Does It Help?