The Food Assembly

Have you got a Food Assembly near you?  Our nearest one is in Harrogate, and last night we went to find out more, at an Open Evening they organised.

In a room above Starlings, we found a clutch of local food producers: an organic farm selling ethically produced meat (and chicken bones! For making wonderful stock!); a bakery; an Italian food producer; a cake-baker from Ripon; a properly-local ready meal supplier; a vegi-box scheme; a cheesemonger, a rape seed oil producer. Among many others.

We knew Emma, who’d started Harrogate’s Food Assembly, was onto something.  Every week, members of the Assembly can order from a range of locally and ethically produced goods, and meet those same producers when they come to collect their shopping on a Thursday evening.  Brilliant.  What a great way to support and meet local, high quality and human-scale producers, and to shop in a sociable and human-scale environment.

What we didn’t realise before was that this is part of an international movement.  Here’s a quotation from The Food Assembly‘s website:

The Food Assembly’s vision is to create a better way to eat, where everyone has access to the pleasure of local food, and is connected to the people who make it. 

Community is at the heart of The Food Assembly – we connect neighbours to farmers, neighbours to each other, and everyone to their food. 

Starting in France, and now a movement across Europe, we believe in value-led innovation and are constantly seeking to sharpen our tool that connects people to local food producers. 

Bringing power back to producers and consumers, our vision is a world with shorter supply chains where people connect to their food in a better way. By combining technology and sustainable agriculture, our vision is to support a healthier world where everyone can thrive. 

Popping over 50 km. there and back to Harrogate on Thursdays won’t be easy.  We plan to get a little posse together who’d enjoy this way of shopping too.  We think it’s worth a bit of an effort to be part of something as exciting as this.

17 thoughts on “The Food Assembly”

  1. I looked to see if we have something similar but the pick up place is too tricky on public transport. I t sounds a very good idea though, good luck with your shopping and thanks for letting us know about it.

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    1. Bother! Yes,accessibility seems to be a bit of an issue. A friend in France has just told me their Food Assembly has closed its doors to new customers as it’s just too popular!

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  2. Yes it is very appealing and to be applauded and supported, though there are challenges re accessibility and also supply and demand issues. I think it is great to be connected to the people we get our food from and to know they strive to produce food ethically and sustainably. And it’s far tastier too!

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  3. Oh thanks so much for this. I had never heard of them and have just looked at their map to find one is on it’s way for Ipswich. I think I am as astounded as restlessjo was!!! Fingers crossed that it gets off the ground as your trip to Harrogate looked pleasantly productive.

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  4. I’d ever heard of a Food Assembly but it sounds sort of like our farmers’ markets–these are usually once a week for a few hours and small farmers, cheesemakers, bakers, etc., set up tables and sell. They’re fun!

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  5. We have Farmers’ Markets too, though sadly not in Ripon. This is slightly different in that you have to pre-order and collect later. The range of goods tends to be slightly wider too. Both worth while additions to the shopping experience!

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  6. I don’t think we have anything like that right here BUT we have 2 weekly market days, plus we have an impressive number of tiny shops dotted about. They are open all hours, just like the bakeries, butcher and pharmacies…
    Back in Switzerland, many years ago, I already had (far ahead of the time when this was ‘normal’) a supplier with bi-weekly deliveries of home grown produce. We had no choice in the matter, we had to cook what we got and sometimes it was a bit of a bother. We might have gotten one item of one veggie but no idea of how to cook it or combine with what…. Another feature of my younger life was sending me a letter with photo of the next cow to be slaughtered. We had then, at a given date, to attend the postal service with a parcel and beautifully shrink wrapped pieces of ‘Anna’ or ‘Frieda’…. I wrote to him NOT to send me photos anymore; I couldn’t eat Anna or Frieda if I know them too well! 😉
    Then I went away and the whole idea of ‘direct food’ died a bit but was awakened again in Devon where we shopped from Riverford, a forerunner of organic food. And imagine my great surprise when I visited my son in Switzerland’s mountains and he fed me ‘my’ kind of food. His girlfriend-partner noted how son was an excellent, thoughtful and aware cook and that he always insisted of buying local produce and possibly untreated fare…. Then son said: I learned all that from you, even cooking tofu – I nearly fell off my chair! He was the most difficult child and nothing was ever appreciated – until now – the wonders don’t cease to exist!

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    1. We use Riverford! I like their produce and philosophy. Sadly, despite living near a market town in a rural area, we have no farmers’ market, and fewer independent shops than we would like. There is no independent grocer in town, for example. It’s all a bit uphill. It was much easier when we lived in France.

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