Food - Produce Link
On Tuesday 13th March 2012 at the 4th Local Food Forum Ian Smith introduced and facilitated a discussion around how the PL:21 Local Food Forum could act as a conduit for local farmers, growers and producers from the PL:21 area and its South West Dartmoor hinterland to access the market place within the city of Plymouth. Both Ian and Tess Wilmot have been working on behalf of PL:21 to engage with new and exciting local food initiatives within the city. These include: Sustainable Plymouth's Local Food Action Plan; the re-introduction of the Plymouth Farmers' Market and establishing a Real Food Store for Plymouth, adapted from a similar successful project in Exeter. Dartmoor Circle Ltd has employed some of its National Lottery Awards for All Funding to support Ian's work around potential collaborative / co-operative engagement by PL:21 in these emerging opportunities.
Ian introduced the idea of PL:21 producers engaging in the Plymouth Farmers' Market re-launch using a collaborative / co-operative model. Under this scheme, if say six producers co-operated, two per week could represent the collaborative enterprise on a rolling basis. So, for example, the night before, or very early in the morning (for perishable products), the six would bring their produce to an agreed location. The two representatives for the week would then take this to market and sell it, keeping a simple tally of which money belonged to which producer. The tangible advantages of this include savings in time, transport costs and C02 emissions. Additional benefits around collaboration, mutual support and critical mass will also then start to accrue.
The producers present saw potential in this idea and approved it in principle. Furthermore, they identified additional opportunities to work collaboratively around their mainstream deliveries. So, for example, if a jam maker had a delivery to make in say, Torquay and a dairy producer had a similar delivery booked, the two might work together. Therefore, one would make the deliveries on behalf of both. The transport costs would be shared, carbon emissions would be cut (both would be effectively halved) and significant time would be saved.
If this Produce Link project particularly appeals to you, you have produce that needs distribution and representation within Plymouth and you would like to get involved please contact the PL:21 Core Team in the first instance in order to best see how to do this.