Nicki has worked in the alternative food retail sector for the past 13 years as part of Growing Communities in North East London. As well as coordinating the veg scheme, she helped develop and run Growing Communities ‘Start up Programme’ designed to assist other groups set up their own community-led veg schemes. She is now the Network Coordinator for the Better Food Traders, a peer-to-peer network for alternative food retailers.
Better Food Traders Matchmaking
Connect with other radical food retailers, share problems, find solutions and learn from each other
Drop-in ONLINE AT ORFC FROM 11.00 -12.30 6th & 7th Jan
JOIN US AT ORFC
The Better Food Traders network exists to help radical retailers like you find each other and work together to drive change from the ground up. We’ll be holding an open drop-in space online at ORFC from 11.00 am–12.30 pm on the 6th and 7th of January, 2022. Here, you’ll meet with expert ethical food retailers through virtual chats. You’ll talk about and share solutions on business issues like getting your small food business started, marketing your company, crafting your story, making your finances work and how to grow.
Julie Brown is Director of Growing Communities in Hackney, London. We run a box scheme and a farmers’ market working with 30 organic farmers and supplying food to 3000 households a week. We also do some of our own growing and run a training scheme for urban growers. GC helped set up ten similar schemes – which have now grown into the expanding network of Better Food Traders. Our wholesale arm – the Better Food Shed – was set up consolidate supplies to London-based BFTs. No longer involved in detailed operations, I can best advice on overall business management and finances, supply chain and logistics issues and keeping going….
Reuben Chesters is the founder and Managing Director of Locavore Community Interest Company. Locavore is a social enterprise working to build sustainable food systems which are better for people and planet. Founded in 2011 it currently runs 5 local, organic and zero waste supermarkets, delivers veg boxes to around 2000 households a week, grows local organic produce on it’s market gardens; and operates a wholesale arm which suppliers other retailers like itself around the UK. Currently Reuben’s day to day work focuses around implementing Locavore’s Bigger Plan to scale up to 10 locations by 2023.
I have been working with organic and sustainable food for over twenty years, having founded ‘The Cambridge Organic Food Company’ in 1998, and more recently ‘Cambridge Food Hub’. I consider my particular areas of expertise to be short supply chains and direct marketing. 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.
Kerry set up and coordinates the Growing Communities farmers market, working with our farmers and producers. She also works on food policy issues for GC. She can advise on setting up and fundraising for peri-urban farms – plus direct routes to market for them, negotiating leases with councils, plus mentoring start-up food businesses such as cake bakers, fermenters, cereal producers etc.
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. Being part of the founding team of a small food enterprise she has experience in a number of different areas, but can particularly advise on using systems such as the Open Food Network and Boxmaster; setting up food access projects and working with community partners; reaching out to and onboarding new local suppliers; and communications including company literature.
Jean is founder and managing director of Local Greens Limited, a not for profit fruit and veg box scheme based in Herne Hill, South London. Jean’s professional background and wide business experience has helped Local Greens be financially secure without funding or grants; to react to business conditions and to be flexible in all areas of the operation. The balance between financial success and social and environmental impact is key to Local Greens, this is constantly reviewed and incorporated into planning for growth.. Jean is available to chat about any of this.
Richenda Wilson has spent the past 10 years as Marketing Coordinator at Growing Communities, the east London social enterprise that set up the Better Food Traders network and runs a thriving organic fruit and veg scheme, farmers’ market and food growing and training projects. In a typical week, Richenda can variously be found working as strategic planner, website editor, brand custodian, poster designer, blog and newsletter writer, event coordinator, PR manager, market researcher, copywriter, customer management system trouble-shooter, recipe tester, or photographer of wonky veg for social media. She’s happy to advise on any of these.
Founded the award-winning Better Food in 1992. I started my career in 1974 farming organically in a community in Scotland before moving to Bristol in 1981 and working at Windmill Hill City Farm for several years, where I worked with kids and adults teaching them about food and farming. I have spent my working life embedded in farming, growing, retailing, wholesaling and delivering organic food, and am always looking for new ways of spreading the organic word and building a better, more sustainable world. I served on the Soil Association Council twice over 20 years, and was a founding member of The Community Farm which was born out of The Better Food Company. My recent book ‘Food for thought’. is an offer to all those who want to make a difference o Nature, Food, Farming, Community, Business and our shared future.
Danny worked as a market gardener for 6 years in the South-West of England before joining Organiclea in North East London, where he was the produce co-ordinator. Danny then went on to set up and run the Better Food Shed, a distribution hub based on the edge of London, that co-ordinates buying produce for box schemes across London from organic farms around London and further afield. Danny would be happy to advise on almost all aspects of fruit and veg growing, buying, selling and distributing.
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.
Rachel Dring is the founding director of Crop Drop, a veg box scheme in North London, which has been running for eight years and includes a small urban growing operation. Prior to starting Crop Drop, Rachel was a plant-based chef, dabbled in food writing and had an early career as a youth arts producer. Rachel has run every aspect of the veg scheme operation and oversees the financial management and organisational development of the business, keeping the delicate balance of ethics and growth. She’s developed additional projects alongside the veg scheme including a community ktichen and a meal project during lockdown. Her particular strengths and passions are building teams, harnessing the power of volunteering, local marketing strategies and start-up enterprsie leadership. She’d be happy to advise on any of these things.