Tamar Grow Local (TGL) is a ‘not for profit’ Community Interest Company (CIC) set up on co-operative principles for the benefit of the community. This structure allows trading and has the ability to create a number of more specialist co-operative ventures under its umbrella to meet demand. The area covered is the Tamar Valley, which includes the market towns of Tavistock, Launceston, Callington and Saltash.
TGL are an umbrella organisation which supports various community and commercial projects and enterprises including: allotments, orchards, apiaries, livestock co-operatives, CSA’s and community growing projects. Their activities focus on three main areas:
- Community – Providing opportunities and support for local people to grow their own food including allotments, growing plots and orchards.
- Education – Raising awareness of the benefits of local produce and the unique market gardening history of this area.
- Commercial – Working with commercial growers and supply chains to increase the availability and consumption of local food and produce.
Tamar Grow Local wholesale food hub pilot.
Through the support of the Tamar Catchment Partnership and the Interreg Catchment Cluster Project, the Westcountry Rivers Trust are helping TGL to trial a 4 month project, which looks at taking the existing local food supply and delivery operation to a wholesale level. This has been designed to incentivise existing small producers to scale up, whilst also encouraging new and emerging suppliers within the Tamar catchment.
A wholesale hub represents a significant step-change in the short supply chain currently in place – capacity to meet the growing demand locally is not being met, but mid-scale producers are very few hence local wholesalers rely on a handful of larger businesses who may only source a small amount of produce locally whilst importing the majority. This trial aims to operate a wholesale hub as a not-for-profit brokerage to allow producers a better price and hence incentive to supply. It also aims to establish ‘harvesting to order’, thus avoiding many of the uncertainties associated with increasing supply into an unknown market and also avoiding wastage or unsold produce.
This project is aimed at small scale producers and helps to build a more resilient local food production system from grass roots level whilst securing greater continuity; alongside this is the promotion of locally and sustainably sourced food, enhanced awareness of local suppliers and their link in the landscape, character and environmental conditions (particularly water quality) of the Tamar catchment. Much of this project is able to be replicated and could ultimately serve to be trialled elsewhere.