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Making local food work

posted 14 Feb 2010, 01:35 by Toby Roscoe   [ updated 14 Feb 2010, 14:48 ]

Communities Taking Control was
the first in a series of conferences held by the Making Local Food Work programme, a £10m partnership that explores ways that enterprising communities can reconnect land and people through food between. The partnership consists of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, Co-operativesUK, Country Markets Ltd, FARMA, the Plunkett foundation, the Soil Association, and Sustain, it is funded by the Big Lottery Fund’s Changing Spaces Programme. 

Communities Taking Control featured a number of high profile speakers, including a number from organisations directly involved in the Making Local Food Work Programme.  Professor Elizabeth Dowler of Warwick University explored the issue of reconnection and highlighted the needs for “renewed social and ethical relationships between consumers and producers.”  Professor Dowler stated that consumers are looking for more authentic and closer relationships with their food and those who produce their food; “people value authenticity.”

The event highlighted a range of examples of communities who are doing just that – Headingly Pig and Fowl Co-op in Leeds was one case study featured which explained how members of the community addressed their need for fresh, healthy local food with clear traceable origins by forming a co-operative and directly developing a relationship with local producers. 

Delegates debated how the food supply chain can be changed or influenced from the bottom up.  The answer, the conference highlighted, is not solely focused on policy change; we must find levers of self-interest that encourage individuals and communities to actively engage with producers and suppliers of their food.  Localised food system can work and do work, however, more dialogue is needed between consumers and producers in order for producers to think about farming differently and for consumers to consume differently. 

Due to the success of the conference and high level of interest in the day, another event will be held on 30th September 2009.  If you would like and further information on Communities Taking Control or the Making Local Food Work Programme, please see the Making Local Food Work website or contact them at

Edited by Toby Roscoe