ORFC 2022 session
With Guy Singh-Watson, Andy Johnson, Helen Woodcock, Carolyn Coxe and Dan Monks.
The first box scheme in the UK was set up by Tim and Jan Deane with many others setting up since and rapid growth through more than two decades, until the financial crash in 2008. Despite harsh trading conditions most box schemes survived, including those with national distribution. Online selling has been developing since then with the technological ability to support more tailored ethical shopping. However, Brexit and Covid saw a shift in shopping attitudes with many people turning to local and online food shopping. Motives for this are varied, for some it was just a question of availability and they have now returned to supermarket shopping. Others were awakened to the fragility of our global supply chain and are determined to find connections to farmers and the local economy through the food they buy.
The current reality in the UK is that supermarkets still dominate food retail, and a food revolution is needed to change that. How might ethical growers and retailers enable a successful transition? Helen Woodcock is one of the founders of the hugely successful Kindling Trust which has been working since 2007 to subvert the industrial food system. Guy Singh-Watson, the founder of Riverford, has many years of supplying organic food at scale and can offer real insight into the challenges of national supply chains. Andy Johnson is working with Food Exeter to build a new food system for Exeter.