Just before Easter LESS, a Lancaster based Community Interest Company, finished writing a Community Economic Development (CED) plan for Lancaster District.
LESS’s CED Plan builds on more than a year’s worth of community engagement work and presents a strategy that hopes to shape Lancaster District’s food economy for the benefit of local communities. The full plan can be read and downloaded from the ‘Growing Our Local Food Economy’ blog: www.lessuk.org/blog
LESS’s CED Plan proposes a number of practical schemes and projects that can directly increase access to local and sustainable food in Lancaster District. Proposals include:
- Better and more strategic marketing of local food businesses and their food, that builds on LESS’s online local food directory lessuk.org/directory
- Promoting and expanding the range of local food items offered by the existing milk float delivery network in Lancaster District.
- Encourage and support corner shops and convenience stores to have a ‘local food section’ or to stock a range of local food products – even if for a trial to gauge customer interest.
- Organise a series of seasonal local food events that promote and celebrate the variety of local produce available in Lancaster District. Events should include seasonal outdoor farmers’ markets and an annual local food awards.
- Trial the use of collection points. This could involve existing local food delivery schemes such as veg boxes, dropping off multiple customer orders at a central location (e.g. Community centre). Orders are then picked up by customers later in the day- at a time convenient to them.
- Develop an online resource sharing platform whereby local food businesses can share skills, resources, volunteers and gluts of food.
- Develop a local food delivery scheme. This could involve working with an existing scheme to develop their offerings.
LESS is able to take a number of these proposals forward. For example, it plans to promote the local food directory more widely, and hopes to organise two seasonal outdoor markets this year: a mid-summers market in June and a harvest market in September.
However, LESS cannot implement this plan alone! We therefore encourage local entrepreneurs, food businesses, food fanatics and community organisations to read LESS’s CED plan and take elements of the plan forward.
Or, if you are interested in volunteering for LESS to help implement some of the trials and events please get in touch. We are always in need of a spare pair of hands and a critical mind.