1. The Local Level

Photograph of Exeter's Farmers Market.

Closer to home and at the local level the popularity and re-generation of Farmer’s Markets in the UK continues unabated. These are fostered by initiatives including the provision of designated sites for stalls/pitches, advertising and other support from the local authorities and trade organisations. A main driver for these is the organic label. Additionally, vegetable boxes, fresh meat, fish and their products, bread and pastries locally grown/produced help to foster the sense of regionality, community and sustainability. The producer is able to cut out the middle-man ensuring profitability and the purchaser is prepared to pay a premium for fresh quality products. Regional food fares additionally assist in marketing and with fostering a sense of identification of the public with their local market. Diversification and added value are drivers. European Union-led restrictions on milk supply for example, encourage farmers as suppliers to develop into butter, cheese and ice-cream production as producers. Supermarkets are being continually encouraged to include products grown locally within their range of goods and are making gestures in this direction. Across the Channel, whilst the French embrace their supermarkets with enthusiasm, they have never abandoned their love affair with street markets which are set up each week in most of the towns and villages. Again, an identity with region and community prevails.

Walking exercise 1

Visit the Farmer’s market in your area.

  • What products are on sale?
  • Where do they come from?
  • How regional is the market?

If you can, (take care!) interview a friendly stall holder and illicite:

  • How much support they receive from the local authority and elsewhere?
  • Do they mutually support each other in any way?
  • How would they define eco-business practise?

Come up with an estimation of foodmiles for the various categories of: fish, meat and bakery products

2. Developing communities of eco business practice