Worcestershire Food Links

Main Directory I Background I How to Join I Frequently Asked Questions

This new Awards For All lottery funded project is led by Growing Worcestershire, which is a resource for local food growing for health, community, pleasure and local food security

Why support a local food and drink network?
It will improve the local economy for Worcestershire.
It will reduce our carbon footprint and be less reliant on fossil fuels.
It will give  greater food security for the area and make Worcestershire more resilient.
It will make local food affordable for those on restricted incomes.
It will enable local residents and visitors to access local foods more easily.

Growers, producers, retailers and caterers benefit from:

  • Assistance to source local products and outlets.
  • Reduced transport costs
  • Increased business by developing and promoting a local food culture and brand
  • Free advertising through the Growing Worcestershire website
  • Opportunities to work with others in the food links network to create shared opportunities

What is the Worcestershire Food Links Project?

“Growing Worcestershire” is a local organisation supported by a network of volunteers. Our current project is Worcestershire Food Links which is funded by an Awards For All Lottery Grant and is being managed by Malvern Hills Food Alliance working with groups of volunteers around Worcestershire.

The aim of the project is to make local food and drink affordable and accessible to everyone.

Worcestershire Food Links Meeting, 1st December 2016, Worcester Guildhall

The meeting, in the Guildhall in Worcester was attended by over 30 people including farmers, growers, producers, brewers, retailers, distributors and publicans.

Worcestershire Food Links meeting

John Rhymer speaking at the Worcestershire Food Links meeting

After fortifying ourselves with a range of tasty local foods and drinks, we were welcomed by Councillor Anthony Blagg, Deputy Leader of Worcestershire County Council and Portfolio Holder for the Environment who explained why the County Council welcomed the setting up of a local food network.

Daren Bale, Worcestershire Food Ambassador and licensee of the Hop Pole Inn in Bewdley explained why local food was important to his business.

This was followed by an explanation of the benefits of a local food network to businesses, the economy and the environment. There were several productive discussions leading to feedback on the draft leaflet (as a result of this it will now be A5 with more illustrations, fewer words and some statistical evidence). A new version is attached and will be further developed should funding for another print run be available.

We learnt of various existing award and accreditation schemes such as Healthier Choices Food Awards, Red Tractor and Organic Certification and it was recognised that any Worcestershire Local Food awards and accreditation that were developed should take regard of the criteria for such awards and incorporate other awards rather than compete with them.

There was also useful discussion on the criteria for membership of Worcestershire Food Links focussing in particular on how we defined local and whether businesses such as breweries and bakeries would qualify as local if they sourced their malt, flour etc. from further afield. It was accepted that this is inevitable when local suitable ingredients are not available as the finished products if sold locally would still have a significantly reduced transport carbon footprint and would enhance the local economy. There are of course degrees of “local” with UK produce usually having a lower carbon footprint that produce imported from other countries.

To avoid any confusion which could arise over the term “locally sourced” it was suggested that we might use “locally provenanced” which is stronger and would rule out non-local items purchased from a local “Cash and Carry” for example.

The revised criteria are on the reverse of the slightly revised membership application form (also attached).

Next Steps.

  • 10,000 of the “Why Buy Local” leaflet will be printed and supply of membership forms will also be printed as well as being available electronically.
  • Any business applying to join and which meets the revised criteria will be recognised on the “Growing Worcestershire” website as a member (special member’s logo)
  • Members will also be encouraged to use the logo on their own promotional material, website etc.
  • Members will be sent a window sticker and a supply of “Why Buy Local” leaflets to give to customers and suppliers.
  • It is hoped that, over the next few months, local meetings will be organised for growers, producers and other food businesses to meet each other and establish useful contacts and explore opportunities. When appropriate the general public might also be invited so they can learn the benefits to themselves of buying local.
  • Members of WFL will also be able to use the network and its database to identify new local suppliers or potential customers.

John R Rhymer

Please see our Main Directory Page for Worcestershire food producers and processors.

Please see our Worcestershire Food Links Background page for more information on the project.

Click HERE for information on how to join Worcestershire Food Links.

and if that is not enough please see our Frequently Asked Questions page about the project in the hope that answers your question.

Awards for All Logo
Worcestershire County Council logo
Malvern Hills Food Alliance logo

Funded by Awards for All from National Lottery