Frequently Asked Questions about the Worcestershire Food Links project
Q. Why create a database of local food and drink businesses?
A. It will underpin the development of a sustainable local food network in Worcestershire in order to support the local food sector and benefit local communities by enhancing access to and availability of local food.
Q. Who will be included in the main database?
A. Any Independent food or drink business located within Worcestershire.
Q. Why should we include Growers and producers within 30 miles of Worcestershire?
A. When researching local food websites etc. you may come across farmers, growers and processors from adjoining counties. It is worth recording those now as it will save time later. However no need at this stage to actively seek out businesses outside of Worcestershire. When we start engaging with Worcestershire food and drink businesses we hope they will be able to point us to suppliers both within and outside Worcestershire.
Q. Why are we gathering data on all Independent food and drink businesses within Worcestershire regardless of whether they supply local food?
A. We want to be able to contact and engage with all food and drink providers so that we can interest and motivate them to consider sourcing and selling more local food. The Food Links network will enable them to source supplies from local suppliers that they may not have been aware of.
Q. Why only independent businesses?
A. At this stage we want to restrict membership of Worcestershire Food Links to small and medium enterprises. Large businesses will often be sourcing or supplying food and drink far away from Worcestershire. Although they often provide local employment profits go to shareholders many of whom have no connection with Worcestershire and do not benefit the local economy. In future we may engage with these larger industries and companies as a further development of our work.
Q. How will we quality assure whether businesses qualify as local food participants?
A. Although we have some criteria in mind we need to engage with the various sectors to reach agreement on the criteria. These may vary according to the Business type. Although we will invite any food or drink business to join the Food Links network we might decide to restrict publication on the Local Food website to those that meet the appropriate criteria.
Q. How will we check if products are genuinely organic?
A. For the moment we will just record if we are aware of whether a business claims to supply some organic produce. There will not be many of them and those that do will probably be promoting this very visibly. It is unlikely that any business will claim products are organic if they do not have the appropriate certification as organic food production within the EU is strictly regulated. When we contact organisations directly we can ask them what certification they have and they will also have the opportunity to tell us if they supply other categories e.g. produced under conversion to organic farming, Bio-dynamic etc.
Q. Why should we include take away establishments such as Fish and Chip Shops in the initial data gathering?
A. Some Fish and Chip shops are already sourcing their potatoes from local farmers and others may wish to do so if they can find a local supplier. Many will be sourcing from Wholesalers such as Mitchells of Staffordshire who source different potato varieties at different times of year. They source these from Worcestershire and Warwickshire as well as more distant counties such as Lincolnshire and occasionally from other European countries when more local sources are not available. Pressure from Worcestershire Fish and Chip Shops might convince them to contract more Worcestershire farmers to grow for them. The fish will not be sourced from Worcestershire but a Worcestershire fresh fish distributor will benefit the local economy more than a large National company.