In March, at the Responsible Finance conference, Co-operative & Community Finance won the Citi Microentrepreneurship Award for Effective Partnership for its work with the Just Growth Fund, which supports businesses in community food and farming. Tim Coomer, CCF’s Business Development Manager referred to collaboration with Funding Enlightened Agriculture (FEA) and Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, which has unlocked grant, loan and social investment for this work.
Co-operative & Community Finance has made loans to four enterprises via the fund:
Bread Matters notes that in 2015, Scotland produced over one million tons of wheat, most of it sold as animal feed, to distilleries or as ‘biofuels’. As the country’s breadmakers rely on wheat imports, Bread Matters have searched for more nutritious bread wheats, suitable for low-impact farming. Scotland the Bread sells this specialist grain and flour and runs bakery courses for community groups.
Agriculture and food processing account for 18-20% of UK annual greenhouse gas emissions, so reducing the distance between field and plate, and limiting the use of fossil fuel-dependent inputs and the energy intensity of processing all make sense as part of a joined-up carbon reduction strategy.
The cost of diet-related ill health in Scotland is soaring, and if people, especially those on modest incomes, the old and the very young, are to be better nourished, there has to be an accessible and affordable supply of appropriate food. Local bakeries can supply fresh, properly fermented bread to nearby customers, without the synthetic additives deemed essential for long-distance loaves.
A Community Benefit Society will be set up to ensure that this work is focussed on people not profit.
The vital importance of ‘fair trade’ is stressed
Arrangements between farmers, millers and bakers should ensure equitable rewards and honest prices that also allow for the variability of the weather which affects grain quality
Scotland the Bread: an ethical investment