Lee Morgan-Geer, an IT manager turned local food hero has just launched Wiltshire’s first Food Assembly in his home town, Bradford on Avon.
Bradford on Avon Food Assembly is part of a growing food movement that aims to change the way we eat and buy our food.
Every week in Bradford-on-Avon, customers order their food online and pick it up at a local venue where they meet their local food producers. Customers get quality fresh food as the average distance of food travelled is 28 miles (in comparison to 600 via supermarkets).
Lee is keen that the Bradford Food Assembly will have a positive impact both on his town and on the Wiltshire region.
“The whole town benefits as for every £1 spent, 90p stays in the local economy. It also has an impact on food waste – there is none for food producers as they know exactly how much to bring in advance,” explained Lee.
Louise MacDonald of New MacDonald’s Farm loves supplying The Food Assembly and it has made business easier for them. Unlike the farmer’s market, she never has to take back unsold products because customers order in advance.
“It’s already boosted our sales, and the whole process is a lot easier for us than a farmer’s market because we know exactly what to bring in advance. There’s zero waste for us!”
“We love being part of a community of like-minded people and the feedback we get from customers is helpful. You don’t get that from delivering to someone’s door.”
Only 52% of food eaten in the UK comes from local sources, and with UK food exports set to rise, Lee thinks the case for buying local has never been stronger.
“I am trying to play an integral part in the community by bringing local people back to local food. I want to support the best local producers who are in the background and not being showcased as much as they should be,” he said.
For Lee, the best thing is seeing people within the community meet up and reconnect.
“Massive embraces by shoppers as they haven’t seen each other for ages and suddenly they bump into each other at my Food Assembly and get connected again. I have received huge ‘thank you’s’ for organising this initiative in my town.”
Lee hopes that this latest opening will follow in the footsteps its neighbour, the Frome Food Assembly, which has had over 7,000 orders since it’s beginning in 2015.
“You can really see how the Frome community has benefited by joining this movement, and I want Bradford-on-Avon farmers, food producers and locals to benefit here too.”
But Lee’s commitment to supporting his local farmers doesn’t stop here. He’s keen to get other local communities on board to set up their own Food Assembly, to ensure the movement keeps growing.
“I am keen to share this knowledge, and get other local towns on board. Anyone anywhere can set up a Food Assembly, and the more there are, the better access there is for local communities to local farmers and vice versa. I’d love to get other Wiltshire towns on board, and see if we can be a force for good across the area!”
Could you be a local food hero and set up a Food Assembly in your area? Click here to find out more.
Click here to visit the Bradford on Avon Food Assembly website. Follow them on Twitter: @BoAFoodAssembly
Pictured above: Lee Greer, Bradford on Avon Food Assembly