There are many wonderful and different approaches to creating and running a community food enterprise. In this blog, we explore some examples from a webinar in which we invited Locavore Glasgow, New Dawn Traders, Helston Local Food Hub and Y Pantri Glas to talk about their business models.

If you want to start up your own food enterprise, learning from others’ successes and challenges could help you get your business model right from the start. And if you are an existing and established hub, finding out what works well for other hubs could help you improve your own way of doing things.

With this in mind, read on for an inspiring showcase of some of the different ways you can start or run a food enterprise.

New Dawn Traders

Inspired by local food movements and community supported agriculture projects, New Dawn Traders wanted to see if they could expand these systems to beyond the oceans with sailing vessels.

Working with sailing cargo vessels means they can import delicious produce from across the Atlantic Ocean and along European coastlines pollution-free. With a network of ships, producers and allies, they are building a new and innovative model for sustainable supply chains.

New Dawn Traders run order cycles from their Open Food Network shopfront in the following stages:

Stage one:

They start by collecting early bird orders using an OFN order cycle as far in advance as possible before the voyage. Those who invest in the voyage early are rewarded with the lowest price, which is around the cost of the product and the transport. This order cycle runs until New Dawn Traders place their order with the producers and farmers.

Stage two:

Once the order is made with the producers, they run a second order cycle. This is ongoing while the ship is en route to its destination. This means customers can continue to place pre-orders while the ship is still sailing.

Stage three:

Finally, after the ship has arrived they run a monthly retail order cycle for the cargo they have remaining from the voyage.

Here is a short video clip of Alex from New Dawn Traders:

Helston Local Food Hub

Helston has had a successful monthly farmers’ market since 2008 and Helston Local Food Hub was initially an idea, inspired by Stroudco, to help ‘fill the gaps’ between markets. Helston Local Food Hub was prompted to reality in May 2020 when the monthly farmers’ market closed temporarily due to Covid.

Working with a weekly order cycle, they are open for orders from Thursday evening through to the following Thursday lunch time. Producers bring their produce on a Saturday morning and customers come at midday to collect their orders. Helston Local Food Hub also has a couple of other collection points in surrounding villages. They describe this service as “a ‘click and collect’ that you might be familiar with at a supermarket” to help their customers to understand the concept more easily. Here is a short video clip of Alastair from Helston Local Food Hub sharing the story of how they started up, how they do things, and their plans for the future:

Y Pantri Glas

Y Pantri Glas started as a physical shop inspired to make it easier for people to reduce their use of single-use plastic when shopping. Through offering sustainable foods and household items where customers can fill their own containers and reduce their use of packaging, their aim is to “support our planet, our ecosystems, our communities and our lives”.

When lockdown hit, Cathy and Candace moved everything online using the Open Food Network – which they had used before with another food hub. They run a permanently open order cycle system and are open on a Friday and Saturday for customers to pick up. They sometimes make deliveries in the local area – or for customers coming some distance they occasionally meet halfway. With the complexities of Covid, they no longer allow people to fill their own containers. Instead, they take a customer’s container and fill it for them. Here is a short video clip of Candace from Y Pantri Glas:

Glasgow Locavore

Starting off with a small local shop, Glasgow Locavore began to offer a range of veg boxes and fruit bags on a subscription basis to improve their sales.

They use the Open Food Network to enable customers to order additional groceries from an online shop to ‘top-up their veg boxes.

The popularity of Locavore’s veg boxes grew and they then moved to a larger shop which worked better for them and their customers. Now, they have an even bigger shop which is more like a small supermarket in size – filled with local food as well as sustainable options for other items. Here is a short video clip of Doro from Locavore shares all the different ways Locavore is contributing to the local food economy in Glasgow:

Also, many more enterprises like the ones showcased above use the Open Food Network to enable their community to access their offering online.

We want to enable more people to take a role in building our local food systems. If the stories shared here have motivated you to join the movement for quality food produced by local producers and distributed through short and regional supply networks, you can find out how to get started with The Open Food Network here.

We can help you to access funding, develop your ideas and build collaborations. When you are ready we can help you to set up your enterprise, and then help it to thrive.

You can watch the full recording of the webinar with the live Q&A here.

Want more?

​​​​Do you want more resources and support for your existing food enterprise? If so, here’s what to do next:

If you are interested in setting up a shopfront with the Open Food Network, here’s what to do next:

~By Kayleigh Reed