In a recent post we quoted MEP Molly Scott Cato: “The Co-operative shops have not been as successful in(sourcing locally) as I would like because of their centralised distribution system, but my own Midcounties Co-op has been building up its Local Harvest offer (below) in recent years and I’m surely not the only customer who looks to see whether the vegetables on the shelves have been grown on the Co-operative Farms”.
Ed Mayo of Co-operatives UK, commented If you want to see an inspiring example of a co-operative retailer sourcing locally, and many of the independent co-operatives do, have a look at the work of East of England Co-op with one hundred local suppliers on https://www.eastofengland.coop/sourcedlocally.
This website (header below) is really inspiring and members and would-be customers in the food desert of many co-operative retail areas can only look on with envy.
Today we received quite a detailed account from a Midcounties member who had just attended the AGM with around 500 other members. He wrote: “In the shops they’ve started a locally sourced brand “The Best of our Counties” and lots of local producers were there with stands”.
The Midcounties Co-operative website expresses the belief that one of their main strengths is the fact that they support local farmers and suppliers where possible and are therefore able to offer their customers the best quality local food and drink: “Products from our Best of Our Counties range is only sourced from the home or neighbouring county of each store. This not only reduces food miles, it also means that our customers know exactly where their food comes from and how it has been produced providing peace of mind that it is of the highest quality as well as sustainably sourced”.
Our correspondent added: “Midcounties is doing well, and has solved last year’s energy website problems. When GB energy went bust, the regulator transferred their customers to Co-op as they knew we’d already put our house in order and had expanded capacity. We jumped from 300 to 400 (thousand) customers. It (from GB) now includes pre-payment meters, which are often used by the less well off”. Read more here: https://www.cooperativeenergy.coop/why-us/GB-Energy/
Returning to the subject of food we end with a quotation from a paper called ‘The co-operative path to food security‘. In it, co-author Molly Scott Cato pointed to the increasing volatility of global food prices as speculators moved their gambling activities from financial products to commodities markets, saying: “It never was enough for me that the food I bought in my local Co-op was ethical and fairly-traded; as a green economist I also wanted it to be as local as possible”.
And add that ideally this locally sourced food would also have a certified & verified pesticide regime or be organically produced.