There are some exciting developments happening at Somerset Local Food Direct (SLFD) over the next few weeks and months.
We know that SLFD is an important part of our regular customers’ weekly shop and our sixty local producers’ sales cycle. This small business plays a vital part of the food supply chain. It supports local food production and helps sustain and create new employment for Somerset people.
We want to put this social purpose of providing fresh local food to local people and supporting our local rural economies, at the heart of what we do. In the new year the business will become a Community Benefit Society, owned by our local communities, with a change of name to Somerset Local Food.
Somerset is blessed with wonderful local food, often produced by small scale farmers, who are also stewards of our diverse and managed countryside. Our passion is for their produce to be more readily available to local people through our weekly delivery service. With BREXIT and other challenges, local small-scale farms are under increasing pressure, it is vital that we do not let only large-scale farms survive the economic changes brought about by the ending of the Common Agricultural Policy.
Since SLFD started sixteen years ago peoples’ buying habits have changed and Tesco’s delivery service had only just begun! SLFD now competes with multiple online supermarkets and big vegetable distributers like Riverford. But SLFD remains the only dedicated delivery service supplying Somerset food to Somerset people.
Building on the strong foundations built by Roger White, Nigel Cox, the drivers and warehouse staff over the last sixteen years, a committed board of experienced people are working hard expand and make SLFD more successful. Our aim is to meet the needs of more local customers and to increase our pool of excellent local producers.
It is vital that everyone continues to place their regular order and, if possible, increase their order a little to give us a financial boost. Please encourage people you know to shop with us, so that we can continue to grow sales as we become a fully-fledged social enterprise.
After 16 years of dedication to the local food community, Roger wishes to retire in the next year. Phil Sharratt has been appointed as acting CEO of Somerset Local Food to lead developments.
These include new branding in May 2018, including a new liveried vehicle, and new improved IT systmes, including a new website by July 2018. This all leads up to a relaunch as Somerset Local Food, a community benefit society, in July 2018.
To make these changes possible we are planning to raise finance in the following ways:
- A community share offer
- Applications for social enterprise grants
- Direct Investment by local members.