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BUSINESS ADVICE Q&A At our annual gathering 2023

Connect with other radical food retailers, share problems, find solutions and learn from each other

Join Us in person at the Annual Gathering 9 June 2023, MANCHESTer

Business Advice Q&A AT OUR Annual GAthering

The Better Food Traders network exists to help retailers like you find each other and work together to drive change from the ground up. This year’s Annual Gathering on 9th June, Manchester, includes an informative and fun filled business advice Q&A session. Get your questions answered, meet with other ethical food retailers and professionals with years of experience in the business – and all before that bell rings… 

Better Food Traders! Bring us your burning questions or concerns. Check the profiles of the advisors below and start thinking of your questions.


Better Food Traders Business Advice Speed Dating 1

Duncan Catchpole

I have been working with organic and sustainable food for over twenty five years, having founded ‘The Cambridge Organic Food Company’ in 1998, and more recently ‘Cambridge Food Hub’.  I recently wrote a book called ‘Local Food Ecosystems: How Food Hubs Can Help Create a More Sustainable Food System’ in which I describe the innovative concept in local food supply chain coordination that we are putting into practise at the Cambridge Food Hub. Topics Establishing efficient short supply chains, veg box schemes, direct marketing

Better Food Traders Business Advice Speed Dating 2

Kerry Rankine

Kerry set up and coordinates the Growing Communities farmers market (the first all organic market in the UK) and has worked closely with farmers and producers for over 20 years helping them establish routes to market. She also works on food policy issues for GC and established Growing Communities peri-urban farm in Dagenham. Topics Setting up and fundraising for peri-urban farms. Establishing direct routes to market. Negotiating with local councils. Business strategy. Start up advice for food businesses. Setting up and running markets and market stalls.

Better Food Traders Business Advice Speed Dating 3

Alice Guillaume

Alice Guillaume is the manager of the Cambridge Food Hub and co-manager of the Cambridge Organic Food Company. She also has experience volunteering and working with community food projects, including the Cambridge Community Kitchen and Made in Hackney. Topics Using systems such as the Open Food Network; setting up food access projects and working with community partners; reaching out to and onboarding new local suppliers; and communications including company literature.

Better Food Traders Business Advice Speed Dating 4

Kate Ford

Kate has devoted her career to fast-track brands that stand up for good, building a creative agency, Improper, that specialises in campaigns that put people, activism and social impact at the heart of storytelling. She is here to talk all things marketing and is interested to speak to brands who give their people a voice and build authentic communications that activate genuine social and environmental change.

Alice Brown Sutton Community Farm

Alice Brown

Alice has been Farm Business Manager at Sutton Community Farm for the last 5 years. Her responsibilities and projects in that role have included: managing retail including VegBoxes, building a new packing space, developing a new strategy, writing a new staff handbook, working with and developing the board of trustees. Prior to Sutton Community Farm, Alice worked at Gousto (the recipe kit company) in operations and buying, and did the On Purpose programme which is all about the social enterprise sector. Topics Operations E-commerce options Product / service flexibility Self managing teams HR and governance

Better Food Traders Business Advice Speed Dating 5

Sonia Cropper

Sonia joined Sutton Community farm in 2017 and is currently Head of Communications. She oversees external written communications, social media, photography and video content creation, report writing, and event management. Sonia is also the staff member responsible for all volunteers and visitors to the farm, and monitors the farm’s social impact. Before joining Team Sutton, Sonia worked for Growing Communities, Forty Hall Farm and OrganicLea. Topics Crowdfunding Volunteer Management Email Communications Social Media Monitoring Social Impact

Better Food Traders Business Advice Speed Dating 6

Julia Kirby Smith

Julia is Project Leader at Better Food Traders and has a strong understanding of both independent food retail, and the broader issues with our food system. Prior to joining BFT she ran an ethical grocery shop in North London called Fridge of Plenty, which she founded, grew and then sold in 2022. Julia can speak about bricks-and-mortar retail, online retail using Shopify, local and national delivery, social media and marketing, gaining local press coverage, and building a business. Julia has a background in broadcast journalism and strategic comms, is a Trustee of the campaigning food charity Feedback, and is involved with three local Food Partnerships around the UK.

Better Food Traders Business Advice Speed Dating 7

Zosia Walczak

Zosia is a Senior Manager of tech, distribution and sales at Growing Communities, which merges together pretty much everything she’s  done before: Before getting into food system change Zosia managed an agency that developed digital products and services for Twentieth Century Fox and Disney’s international marketing and publicity teams. That involved business management and development, sales, managing web projects and working with developers, branding and graphic design and even the occasional red carpet. Seven years ago Zosia decided to put all that energy into food system change. working at OrganicLea for three years across various distribution, production and enterprise development roles while doing a level 2 Horticulture course and production traineeships. She also started working as a freelance grower on one of GC’s patchwork farm sites. Topics: My own experience of choosing alternatives to BoxMaster/veg scheme management tools Making the most of free tools like Excel

Hattie Hammans Data Lead at Better Food Traders

Hattie Hammans

Hattie is a researcher and BFT’s data analyst. She is on hand to discuss Better Food Trader’s upcoming Data Deep Dive project, how it can help your business, and answer any other data-related questions.

Chris Walsh Co-founder Kindling Trust

Chris Walsh

Co-founder & Co-ordinator, Kindling Trust, Chris is an accomplished social entrepreneur and has helped establish two of Manchester’s biggest and best-loved social enterprises; Bridge 5 Mill eco-centre (along with co-founder Helen) and Fairfield Environment Services. He then went on to co-found Kindling in 2007, when “a group of like-minded people came together to explore solutions to our increasingly industrialised food system and the health and economic inequities it produces.” Chris also sits on the working groups for the Enlightened Agriculture Fund and Sustain’s Waste Management Social Enterprise group, and was a Trustee of the Real Farming Trust. He is a director of Bridge 5 Mill and is a Trustee of the Fairfield Environment Trust, which supports organisations making Greater Manchester greener, healthier and more equitable.

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