I am not sure when I first became aware of Locavore. It certainly was before they launched their Big Plan in 2015. I had a watching interest in the development of social and more sustainable retail food stores and supermarkets, as well as local food and Locavore seemed an emerging Scottish example (Glasgow-based, started in 2011).
Locavore’s Big Plan presented an opportunity to financially support their expansion, as with with some other food related ventures such as Dig-In Bruntsfield and Scotland the Bread. In the end, dealing with my mother’s death left me in no place to follow this through. My interest in Locavore though did not wane and I have continued to watch their implementation of their Big Plan.
At the start of the pandemic, I did think about signing up for one of their veg boxes, but I was far too slow and late (there is a waiting list). I had also thought that being in Stirling I’d be too far away, but it appears not (and via the Stirling Neighbour Food Market Hub). I also become aware of colleagues in Glasgow who have been long standing users and supporters.
So, what exactly is Locavore? In their own words:
“Locavore exists to build more sustainable food networks which are better for the environment, society, local communities and their economies. In short we want a food system which feeds us all while also nourishing a healthy, fair and prosperous environment, society and economy.
We’re working towards this by building an alternative to the conventional supermarket supply chains which we feel do not set out to do any of this. In delivering this alternative the following things are really important to us and define what and how we do things:
- Localising food growing, processing and production
- Sustainable land use with organic and agroecological agriculture
- Creating short supply chains
- Reducing waste and maximising resource efficiency
- Creating a fairer and more redistributive economy
- Tackling climate change
- Be ambitious and bold to create the future of food.”
They currently have three shops, service 15K customers and deliver 7K veg boxes a month, employ c90 people paid above the living wage, and have production and wholesale arms committed to organic supply. See more details of what is important to Locavore here.
Locavore have now launched a Bigger Plan (which includes a good summary of their history/journey, but also see Scottish Local Retailer coverage from 2016 and recent coverage of the Bigger Plan in the Glasgow Evening Times) to develop to 10 stores and treble the veg box scale, build capacity, become carbon negative and set the base to scale further beyond that. Ultimately, they want to be a significant force in the grocery market in Scotland.
To do this they need finance. This will come from various sources but there is an opportunity to be a supporter at general or local (potentially depending on where stores open and you can put in a view on where they should be as part of the plan) levels. As a Community Interest Company this is NOT an equity opportunity.
If the Locavore approach interests, then the Bigger Plan can be downloaded here. There are also interesting Social Impact Report, Local Economic Multiplier Report and Locavore Partick Store case studies and other material available on their web site. This is a different model, trying to do things in a distinct way and that sense of localness and purpose is to be applauded, and even supported.