I have recently started shopping at the local Food Assembly set up on the Southside of Edinburgh. The process is simple, after registering with the Food Assembly, I can choose products from a variety of local producers and farmers who are all within about 26 miles of where I live. I place my order on the Food Assembly website before midnight on a Sunday and it’s ready for me to collect on the Tuesday evening from the pub along the street, which doubles as a Food Assembly pop up venue.
When I collect my groceries, I can talk to and get to know the producers; understand more about where and how my food is produced; meet other people in my neighbourhood; exchange recipe ideas; enjoy tasters of products; enjoy fresh and tasty food and drink; and go home feeling better about supporting small-scale producers.
By selling through the Food Assembly, farmers and food producers get over 80% for every product sold, compared to the 15% to 25% that most supermarkets offer them. It’s about a third cheaper to buy organic vegetables through direct selling than at supermarkets.
The Food Assembly idea started in France, and the movement is now spreading across Europe. The UK’s first Food Assembly popped up in London’s Hackney in 2014 and since then 72 Assembly's have started in various areas across the UK (7 of these are in Scotland).
The Food Assembly’s vision is to create a better way to eat, where everyone has access to the pleasure of local food and is connected to the people who make it. Last year the Food Assembly won the BBC Food and Farming award for ‘Best British Food Initiative’ (See: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/profiles/583VmGK4pNhbqNQTc3TdKfc/best-initiative-in-british-food). It would be great to see more Food Assembly’s pop up across the country as this initiative seems to be bringing communities together, supporting local farmers and producers and reconnecting consumers with primary producers.
Find out more at The Food Assembly website: https://thefoodassembly.com/en