Small Food Producers Get Chance For Support
Funding and mentoring available to local enterprises
Small food producers are invited to apply for support to a Mayor-approved scheme which has already helped local group Cultivate London, the social enterprise scheme which grows vegetables on disused sites in London.
The food sector in London is worth £17bn and small or medium sized enterprises support the majority of the sector’s 300,000 jobs in the capital.
Urban Food Routes is led by the Plunkett Foundation and funded by the Mayor of London’s London Food Board with organic food brand Seeds of Change. The partnership also includes food-network London Food Link and social enterprise Growing Communities.
Urban Food Routes will aim to help small food enterprises to establish or develop themselves within the capital’s thriving food industry, and will also seek to maximise the benefits they offer to their local communities.
Many of the new food businesses being set up in the capital have strong community links and the scheme contributes towards the Mayor’s aim of regenerating local high streets.
Social enterprises or privately-run businesses, whether they are just starting out or have been running for a number of years, can apply for support. Enterprises can choose the type of support they need including business advice, mentoring, funding up to £8,000 and loan provision. They can find out more and apply at www.urbanfoodroutes.org.uk. The closing date for applications is 5pm, Thursday 17 April 2014.
A six-month pilot of Urban Food Routes worked with four enterprises in 2013. The pilot demonstrated that with a combination of advice and funds, enterprises were able to showcase the impact they can have on their community and the progress of their business, including the creation of new job and training schemes, developing community engagement activities and provision of local food.
Gary Youren from Seeds of Change®, said: “We were inspired by the fantastic results we saw from the 2013 Urban Food Routes pilot. As an organic food brand we commit a proportion of our sales to supporting biodiversity and sustainable organic practices and we felt this was a perfect fit for Seeds of Change to support in 2014. We’re excited by the opportunity to see the positive impact this project and the enterprises involved can make on the food culture in London.”
Peter Couchman, Chief Executive of the Plunkett Foundation, said: “Plunkett is very pleased to support Urban Food Routes by providing business advice to smaller enterprises that work in all aspects of food; from those that grow and produce it, to those that sell it. This initiative is great news for London’s smaller food enterprises.”
One of the businesses supported by the pilot of Urban Food Routes in 2013 was Cultivate London – a horticultural social enterprise operating urban farms on disused sites in west London and offering a youth training programme for young people aged between 16 and 24. Adrienne Attorp of Cultivate London said: “We received fantastic support from Urban Food Routes. The funding we received was a huge help and it has been an honour to be part of the project.”
Another of the businesses that took part in the pilot was KERB – a street food organisation based in King’s Cross. Petra Barran of KERB said: “We have gathered together 50 of the best street food traders in London and we organise markets and events where their incredible talents can be shown off. We are putting good food in the urban spaces of our city. Urban Food Routes gave us a brilliant injection not just of cash, but also of support.”
March 28, 2014