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Local Food Directories

By: James Murray-White - Updated: 2 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Local Food Directories Compilation

Food directories are a compilation of all the opportunities to buy and sample locally-grown and produced food in one area either a town, city, or larger rural area.They are usually produced in print form, in the form of a booklet, and often also have a web site, for internet access as well. The printed booklets are often published free, and depending on the size of the area covered, may be distributed free to households, or may be available by request only.

In many cases across the UK, a group of interested citizens have come together to create the directory, and there may be an organisation involved that steers the project and gives support, and possibly funding. In the City of Bristol for instance, the Local food directory is run by the local Friends of the Earth group. The Soil Association, the UK's leading organisation spearheading food and organic issues, also based in Bristol, publishes information on its website on how to run and set up a local food directory, and they also keep a directory of all the local food directories across the country. In some cases, the directory will be run and published by the local City or regional Council.

What Can be Found in a Local Food Directory?

The purpose of the directory is to list all the suppliers and retail outlets for food that is produced within the area it serves. This will include farmers and farm shops, farmers markets; pubs and restaurants that sell and serve locally-produced food, and a range of other relevant food information, including local box schemes and specialist food groups.

Case Study: Bristol Local Food

This directory advertises itself online as the place to find the following local food specialties within the local area: Somerset Rambler and Exmoor Blue (both cheeses), Gloucester Old Spot Pork, Glastonbury Pear Cider (scrumptious!), and Pink Fir apples – an old English variety, not often seen in supermarkets.

The website of the directory allows the customer to browse the area by type of supplier, i.e from farm to cafe, and by area. This includes the city centre and 10 districts of the city, plus outlying areas.

Other information includes a whole recipe section, of how to cook the local produce when you've got it home, and more detailed articles about the benefits of local food, and even one piece mentioning a horror story about food miles, involving a local supermarket chain and some Scottish-grown fruit. The website and the printed directory is run on the basis of submissions by the local public so it is a totally local initiative within Bristol, aimed at supporting and developing the blooming local food market.

Other Local Food Directories Across the UK

Most towns, cities and larger rural areas across the UK now have directories.A sample selection include
  • North Somerset
  • Staffordshire
  • The very 'green' Devon town of Totnes
  • The Forest of Dean, Gloucester, with its Forest Food Directory, established in 1997
  • The Wye Valley, on the Welsh/English border, with its 'Savour the Wye' project, supporting
  • Herefordshire beef and Wye valley Lamb. These are just a few of the local food directories already in place across the UK.
There is likely to be a food directory in place for your area. Check with your local Council, or at your local library or health food shop. If there isn't one in your area, consider forming a group and initiating one. Then you and the local community will be able to get out and shop with confidence, knowing that you are buying fresh local produce, from your local area.

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