Looking at all aspects of food production & culture, localisation, organics, urban agriculture, permaculture, community development, poverty, accessibility and health related issues and land ownership.

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Discussion Forum

Impacts of Chinese drought... 1 Reply

Started by Nick Wilding. Last reply by Nick Wilding Feb 17, 2011.

Fife Diet Carbon Report 2010 3 Replies

Started by Mike. Last reply by Mike Aug 23, 2010.

Farmer's Networks- a model to develop? 1 Reply

Started by Kirsty Tait. Last reply by Peter Cleasby Jul 29, 2010.

alternative food systems 12 Replies

Started by pete. Last reply by Joanna Storie Apr 1, 2010.

Meat - How Low Can we Go?

Started by Mike Mar 29, 2010.

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Comment by Mike Perry on May 16, 2011 at 12:37

Hi all,

We work across England through a project called Making Local Food Work ( on a whole range of community food enterprises (over 900 to date).

As part of this some work has been undertaken on Community Supported Bakeries (I hope this is useful Teresa) -

Also quite a bit of work has been undertaken helping farmers' markets to adopt more formal collaborative working arrangement.  Some have formed co-operatives as part of this.  Helen, Joanna or anyone else if you would like to know more see or email my colleague  Thames Valley Farmers' Market Co-operative is a great example that has been around for a good few years -

Comment by Joanna Storie on May 13, 2011 at 14:11
Thank you Susan, I shall pass that on
Comment by Susan Pettie on May 13, 2011 at 13:41


I had your request in mind when i visited Ireland recently and read in about the Irish Food Board's Standards for Farmer Markets, see here Including a good practice guide and guide for growers/producers. x

Comment by Joanna Storie on April 28, 2011 at 11:58
Thanks Liz, I think these are the kinds of things she is looking for but I also want to explore questions that maybe she hasn't considered or maybe look at the process of how you get to the stage of defining criteria, so that it is something that fits in with Latvian culture and requirements.
Comment by Liz Charles on April 28, 2011 at 11:01

Hi Joanna, in England, FARMA set some criteria for farmer's markets but I'm not sure that these are the sort of quality criteria you are looking for (


Reading the previous exchanges (I haven't been on site for a while!) I think you may be right Helen, and we are part of an emergent process where 'there is no blueprint, plan or programme for the whole system ....the whole cannot be designed by any of the agents comprising it because they collectively produce it as participants in it' (quoted in "Strategy without Design" by Chis and Holt; see also "Obliquity" by Kay, and 'Emergence' by Steve Johnson: I love these rather chaotic ideas).


There are lots of ways of moving towards a more sustainable food system and sometimes we cannot do everything at once, especially if we want to take others with us who are not particularly interested. Andy (husband) & I have just opened a shop on a caravan site where we are wanting sell as much local produce as we can. Not only are we definitely not in a 'foodie' area but we have a very diverse customer base (I'm being polite) so worrying too much about what the pigs are fed on is way down the line, but we are selling, for example, rare breed pork sausages and burgers from about 5 miles away & that's a huge improvement on what was sold here before!


Comment by Joanna Storie on April 28, 2011 at 9:56
Does anyone have any ideas on the best place to start or the right people to talk to when developing quality criteria for farmers' markets? I met a lady yesterday, here in Latvia, who has set up a farmers' market in a rural area and would like to help the farmers to improve the standard of produce and to ensure that the farmers' market continues to enhance the economy of the area. She feels there is a need to develop relevant criteria for ensuring good quality local produce.
Comment by Helen Fairweather on October 5, 2010 at 23:40
Thanks to Mike & Camilla for comments. I agree that 'single issue' approaches like local food are too narrow and we have work holistically. Maybe though to get real change most initiatives start with the small steps, then add to them, like the one Camilla refers to.

I'm feeling there are a huge number of smallish community level projects, maybe we're all practicing for the big day when we join it all up & have a real impact?
Comment by Mike on October 1, 2010 at 9:35
Hi Helen, thanks for pointing to the East Anglia report. I think it highlights that 'local food' is just ONE of the crietria for a sustainable food system.

They write: "Local food is often neither lower in greenhouse gas emissions, nor more resilient, than non-local food. To give an obvious example, pigs grown 5 miles up the road on grain that has been hauled 100 miles and soya grown in Brazil (possibly increasing pressures for deforestation in the Amazon) is neither a low-carbon nor a resilient food; but many farmers' markets and other "local food" initiatives would be proud to feature such a product."

But the dichotomoy isnt between this version of 'local food' and 'non local food' the task is to integrate the pigs into the food system in a sustainable manner.

Have you seen our report on carbon savings from the Fife Diet here:

It shows that you can make savings by eating locally but it is best conceived as part of a wider approach including and building a culture that also: eats less processed non-grass fed meat, wastes less food, eats more organic, composts more AND eating locally. Happy to talk more if you want to email me? cheers Mike
Comment by Camilla Govan on October 1, 2010 at 0:15
Not quite the same, but Slaithwaite Cooperative Limited trading as The Green Valley Grocer is a single retailer linking with local producers and promoting local food in a climate/ecoological zone, not favourable for mass food production (pennine hills between Huddersfield and Manchester), so perhaps some parallels. Google it. We are developing our local food links/sales, working on what does make sense and doing OK. We are confident we can and will do a lot better in time, despite the need to address the issues you refer to. We have been going a year so far. May be interesting for us to see what you have done in your business modelling.
Comment by Helen Fairweather on September 29, 2010 at 11:44
I've just finished some market research & business modelling for a group of local producers and retailers in Montgomeryshire, via Cwm Harry Land Trust. They've decided to form a co-operative of producers and retailers together - I've not come across this anywhere else, does anyone know of a similar one? It's not a very foodie area, so to me it makes sense to link the strengthening of local food with revitalising small town centres - thogu maybe this trying to do too much?

I came across some very thorough work done by East Anglia Food Links, which raises a lot of doubt about the sustainability of local food. I'd love to know other people's reactions - it certainly isn't straightforward. There are also some great examples of people making it work, with very different approaches. I don't think anyone's finding it easy!

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