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About Us

Our Mission

Better Food Traders is a Community Interest Company that exists to support small and medium-sized enterprises who are aligned with our mission:

To create a visible, thriving food retail system that protects the environment, farming communities and local economies.

We are a UK-wide network for traders including shops, online sellers, food hubs, wholesalers, markets, market stalls and veg box schemes, who all sell organically-grown produce and do business in a fair, sustainable way.

We charge our members modest fees but most of our funding comes from charitable grants, donations and advisory work. Do get in touch if you would like our help with business training or consultancy re local food systems, enterprise, marketing or tech –

What We Do

Better Food Traders makes it easier for people to buy food that is good for people and the planet. We do this by accrediting and supporting food enterprises committed to ensuring the food they sell is produced and distributed sustainably, to paying prices that are fair to farmers, and to supporting their local community.

We are a UK-wide network that supports food traders who share these values. We amplify the voices of this nationwide movement and campaign for change. We educate the public about the impacts of their food choices and why they should buy locally-grown, planet-friendly produce. Change tastes good – join us!

The Current Problem

Food producers and suppliers are not paid a fair price for their produce.
The current UK food system is responsible for at least 20% of UK greenhouse gas emissions.

We are causing irreparable harm to our soil, biodiversity and water courses.

IMpact of our Members 2023/24

Over £24,000,000 sales of fruit and veg from UK agroecological and organic farmers

350 climate- and nature-friendly farms supported

170 Better Food Traders and their 55,300+ weekly customers working together to change the food system

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Julia Kirby-Smith
Executive Director
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Hattie Hammans
Data Project Lead
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Nicki East
Network Director
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Lois Gallimore
SW Regional Coordinator
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Julie Brown
Strategic Advisor
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Nicola Green
Social Media Manager


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Sarah Williams
Programmes Director, Sustain
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Bob Mehew
Director of Apricot Centre, Totnes
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Tsouni Cooper
Coordinator at Flourish, Cambridgeshire
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Gareth Roberts
Director of Regather, Sheffield
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Keval Shah
Accountant and Regenerative Agriculture researcher
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Tom Richardson
Communications Manager at The Community Farm, Bristol
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Dawn Dublin
Director of Joyful Roots, Hastings

Photograph of Dawn Dublin © Louis Little for The Gaia Foundation

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Zosia Walczak
Senior Manager at Growing Communities, London
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Natasha Soares
Director of Local Greens, London; owner of May Tree Orchard, Kent

Impact Report 2022/23

Impact Report 2023/24

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How the Better Food Traders came to be

In 1993, Julie Brown and a group of friends set up what was London’s first Community Supported Agriculture scheme. 30 households signed up to buying produce from a long-time organic farm in Buckinghamshire. The box scheme had been launched, but it wasn’t until 3 years later, that the name ‘Growing Communities’ was adopted.

“These were the early days of box schemes,” says Julie, “and it really felt very subversive to be unloading vegetables fresh from the farm at 6am right under the nose of the local Sainsbury’s!”

The Start-up Programme

By 2011 the box scheme (based in Hackney, London) was thriving. Growing Communities had expanded to include a number of urban growing sites, growing salad in the city and training the growers of the future, as well as the first all-organic farmers’ market. At that point, Julie came up with the idea of the Start-up Programme.

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Birth of the Better Food Traders

The Start-up Programme helped set up community-led box schemes nationwide. At the same time, there was a significant expansion of local enterprises such as market stalls, shops and other box schemes supporting farmers to grow climate-friendly food. However, these small enterprises were often struggling and isolated. The need for a network became apparent.

“We want to extend our network of community box schemes to include all retail enterprises committed to an alternative ethically-driven food system. We want to support that network and at the same time provide guarantees to customers looking to shop in a different way” – Julie Brown

Better Food Traders and beyond

In January 2020 the Better Food Traders network launched. Supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, and partnering with Sustain, the Better Food Traders network aims to harness and focus the collective power of all of those ethical enterprises committed to climate-friendly growing and eating.

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Change Tastes Good

By swapping your supermarket shop for a Better Food Trader you are doing the planet a massive favour.

Sign Up. Pick Up. Eat Up.