Better Food Traders is a UK-wide network that supports and promotes ethical food traders who sell locally-grown, planet-friendly food. You might be a shop, online seller, food hub, market stall or veg box scheme. As a member, you join a community of thriving enterprises, all deeply connected to local customers, often using innovative ways to distribute and supply healthy, sustainably-produced food.
Becoming a Better Food Trader gives you a support network, so you’re not working alone. We offer business advice, training, peer-learning, in-person conferences, online resources, free or discounted training… and lots more. Best of all, you become part of an amazing community of ethical traders all working together for a better food system!
Click here to see our Membership pack for more info.
WE CURRENTLY WELCOME:
- Traders who sell UK-grown, organic/agroecological fruit and veg, grains, pulses, nuts or seeds.
- Traders who sell products made from UK-grown, organic/agroecological fruit and veg, grains, pulses, nuts or seeds (bread, pasta, oils, jams, chutneys, drinks).
- Traders who sell ethically-sourced wild or foraged produce.
If you sell meat, eggs or dairy products, we’re very pleased to hear from you but at the moment our focus is on traders who sell plant-based products. We may expand our work to support meat and dairy in the future, but for now we recommend you contact the Soil Association or Pasture for Life.
THE BETTER FOOD TRADERS STANDARDS
Because supporting local organic farmers helps them survive, thrive and grow more nature- and planet-friendly produce.
Because organic and agroecological farming is better for soil health, biodiversity, animals and people.
80% is a practical proportion that allows traders to sell a diverse, culturally-appropriate range of fresh produce to their customers while still prioritising local, planet-friendly produce.
Traders of food made from UK-grown plant-based products (bread, pasta, oils, jams, drinks) ensure at least 80% of the ingredients used are local and organic/agroecological.
Because of the damaging carbon impact of air-freighting produce such as asparagus, fine beans, soft fruits and stone fruits. We want to encourage people to shift to more seasonal eating and there is so much great produce grown here in the UK!
Good businesses need to have good systems in place, and we encourage our members to improve their monitoring and reporting to ensure their own success and resilience. We want our members to be sure that they are sourcing locally, ethically and sustainably.
Because we know that business and trade can be a force for good, and that in the real world there is always a triple bottom line of profit, people and planet to balance.
Because the people that traders serve are not ‘consumers’ but citizens who live and work in our community.
Membership application guidelines
Kick-start your journey by filling in our quick and easy application form.
Your application is reviewed and we’ll send you an acceptance email, or tips on how to get your business to the standards we require (see above).
Welcome to the network! We’ll send a series of onboarding emails including how to join our peer-to-peer workspace and a lovely window sticker to display with pride.
The more you put in, the more you’ll get out of the network. Join our events, support our campaigns, network and share YOUR wisdom and advice – together we are stronger. And DO give us a donation if you can!
For Better Food Traders
Your membership application will take 10-15 minutes - you'll need to dig out your social media handles, and some basic business data.
Better Food Traders is currently free to join thanks to the funding we receive from the Esmée Fairburn Foundation, but we do love donations! We have a recommended scale for donations towards our running costs (see below). To join the network, we ask that you submit your trading data and update your data annually via our Data Deep Dive survey. All business data will be used in aggregate and anonymously, unless we have your explicit permission.
You will join a community of like-minded people who are running food organisations like yours. A place where people are asking the questions you may have asked, exchanging ideas and sharing solutions that match your organisation’s needs. You avoid reinventing the wheel, and gain access to tried and tested solutions.
You will also be added to our interactive Better Food Traders Map so that customers in your area can find you.
The Slack networking platform is a platform of peers. This means the more you put in, the more you get out. We recommend that each organisation commits 30 mins a week time to the shared workspace.
You will become part of something bigger: a movement of small businesses and organisations striving to create a real, greener alternative to the food system. Evidence of our collective impact will be used to drive change with policy makers and funders - and you will be able to use it to motivate yourself and your workforce.
You will receive an immediate email confirmation, and then you'll hear from us within a few days of applying if your application is successful. If you receive a rejection email, we will follow up with you to explain how you can improve your working practices in order to become a Better Food Trader.
YOUR CONTRIBUTION TO THE COSTS OF THE NETWORK
The Better Food Traders network is growing and the need for farmer-focused retail is becoming more widely recognised. Although Better Food Traders is mainly funded by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation – we want to make sure the work will continue to flourish by starting to share some costs between members.
We are committed to the cost being affordable for members, and offer a scale with suggested levels based on your turnover. We invite more established businesses, who can afford a higher contribution, to ‘pay it forward’ and subsidise opportunities for younger enterprises to join.