For Better Food Traders
How long will the application take?
It depends on the complexity of your business and the data you already collect. For example, to complete the application you’ll need to have access to your finance figures as well as information on your suppliers and how much business you do with them. If you already collect data as part of your business activity the application could take around 4-6 hours. But businesses can be at different stages of development. This is why we are offering a (maximum) window of six months to complete your application. After that point we will assume you don’t want to apply and will take you off the site.
How likely is my organisation to be accepted?
Highly likely to succeed if: - your organisational structure or legal documents show that you are not for profit - you supply fresh fruit and veg - if 90% of that produce is certified Organic and you can show us that the remaining 10% is grown ecologically (eg. your uncertified suppliers document how they grow to organic standards)
Will it cost me anything to join and what’s involved?
The first 50 members are free - so sign up soon! In exchange we will ask you to submit your trading data and update some figures annually. Individual business data will not be made available to the network or anyone outside of the network without your permission. The 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.
How will becoming a Better Food Traders help my business/organisation?
You will join a forum where people 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. This information hub stops you from reinventing the wheel and gives you access to tried and tested solutions. You will be offered training and advice as well as the opportunity to meet other Better Food Traders at events. Your organisation will be advertised on a website designed to drive customers to your business as well as being promoted at events that champion Better Food Traders. 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.
How long do I wait before I know that my organisation has been accepted?
The membership panel meets every 6 months, and applications need to be submitted 6 weeks before the meeting, so it depends on when you apply within the cycle. The next panel meeting is in May 2020, so if you want your application to be considered at that meeting, you will need to complete the form by 16th March 2020.
How do I find a Better Food Trader?
Search here for your nearest Better Food Trader.
There isn’t a Better Food Trader near me - what do I do now?
We launched in 2020 and are building up a network of brilliant Better Food Traders. There won’t be coverage everywhere at first but here’s what you can do now Check the Soil Association for a list of local veg schemes, markets, farmers, shops: https://www.soilassociation.org/organic-living/buy-organic/ Nominate a veg scheme, shop, market near you that could be a Better Food Trader by contacting us: email@example.com Set up something yourself? If you are city-based see https://kingscross.impacthub.net/ftc-start-up/. Send us a message firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll let you know when there’s a Better Food Trader in your area.
My local shop/market/veg scheme is brilliant. Why aren’t they a Better Food Trader?
They could be. Share this link to our website: https://betterfoodtraders.org/ Tell us about them email@example.com
How does my order support people?
Better Food Traders are governed by principles that ensure the food we trade is farmed sustainably, the way we trade is fair to farmers and transparent to our customers, and that we build community whilst creating change in the wider food system. Better Food Traders create jobs and increase skills in their local communities, reconnecting people with farming and involving them in the production, trading and celebration of food. We make it easier and more affordable for people to choose and use fresh, seasonal and local food and work to raise awareness and understanding of how food choices made by individuals, households and organisations can create a sustainable food system.
What’s in a typical vegbox?
Each local trader is different dependant on their location but this calendar from Sutton Community Farm gives you an idea of what items to expect at different times of the year.
Where does the food come from?
Better Food Traders deliver fresh, seasonal food to your community each week. The food you receive from a Better Food Trader will be sourced from farms as close to you as possible, taking into account carbon footprint, direct relationship with farmers (reduces waste), and what grows best where. Please see this diagram of the Food Zones, which explains our understanding of where to source produce for the most sustainable food system.
Why are Better Food Traders better than normal shops?
Ways Better Food Traders do business differently include: Flexible collections - Customers collect weekly from pick-up points in local businesses and venues such as pubs, libraries, cafes, health food shops and community centres. [We like click and collect!] Supporting the micro-economy - BFTs employ local people, keeping money within the local economy and providing living wage jobs. They are social enterprises so any profits go to furthering the goals of sustainable localized food such as creating urban farms. Reducing food waste at both ends of the supply chain - Working directly with small-scale farms means they only harvest exactly what is needed for that week. Any surplus or uncollected veg is donated to local homeless shelters, food banks and migrant centres. For example Local Greens, with the support of their customers, in South London worked with local organisations to provide over 200 families with food parcels for Christmas (2019). Working with urban growers - Urban and peri-urban growers can struggle to find a market for their produce but Better Food Traders can provide a guaranteed income and are best placed to deal with the smaller quantities that they have to offer. See how this works at https://www.growingcommunities.org/food-growing
What about cost?
Sustainable, organic produce like the fruit and veg sold by Better Food Traders, tends to cost a little more than conventional produce, but it represents much better value*. ‘Cheap’ food means that the ‘cost’ is passed further along the supply-chain through damage to the environment, by paying growers and farm-workers unfairly or by big corporations unscrupulously exploiting tax loopholes. *Read Julie Brown, director of Growing Communities, on the real value of Better Food Traders