Lyndsey Knight, FoodTrade
In this pre-packed, vac-packed, pre-washed, ready-cooked world of food, it’s often hard to really know where our food comes from. Everywhere we read ‘buy local!’, and ‘buy british!’ and ‘support your farmers’, but when it comes to down to it – when we’re wandering the aisles of the shops, or sitting down at our favourite cafe – it’s really tricky to actually discover the food’s provenance.
We often purchase food in an inattentive state, making choices based on merchandising, placement, and colours rather flavour, provenance, or quality. Ambiguous messages like ‘100% natural’ and ‘farm fresh’, together with pictures of sun-kissed rolling green fields plaster packaging and blind us from the ugly imported or intensively-farmed truth.
Shopping and eating out responsibly can be an exhausting endeavour for the conscientious customer; scrutinising small print and trekking to farm shops. It’s not easy, and it’s not fair.
We wanted a better, fairer food network; where honesty and transparency are at the heart of trade, where businesses put provenance on display, and customers can demand where and what they want to eat – and all the while making it easier for companies to discover and trade more produce, more locally. The tools to create this simply didn’t exist, so we founded FoodTrade to change things.
We’ve given the tools to help buyers and sellers trade in real-time, save money by sharing logistics, making it easy to take advantage of seasonal availability – they can even post up a shopping list so local producers can come to them, making it almost effortless to put good food on shelves and menus. FoodTrade is designed for smart phones (useful for when in a tractor/polytunnel/kitchen), and anyone can tweet to trade.
And because it’s important that we all support the best of what’s around, anyone can go on and vouch for their favourite produce, and explore the local food web to find the best places to go. FoodTrade’s even open for individuals to sell or swap produce, too – helping nurture the growing renaissance the UK requires.
And the best thing? With tools like these, a sustainable food system is within reach.
We’re are asking the people of Bristol to change the system. It’s easy, if we all contribute just a little bit. All you need to do is visit www.foodtrade.com and find your local cafe, restaurant, shop or pub. If you know where they get their food from, whether it’s a cheesemonger, cider brewery or chicken farm, simply add it to their FoodTrade profile. It’s quick, free and simple – and helps us all make better choices.
Visit www.foodtrade.com to register for free, and follow us on Twitter @FoodTradeHQ.