Food & Drink

Fresh, fair and friendly: Putney Food Assembly brings consumers closer to producers

A new concept aimed at reducing food miles by allowing shoppers to order fresh produce straight from local producers has launched in Putney. 

The Food Assembly is pitched as a community alternative to supermarket shopping aiming to bring residents closer to food producers to reduce waste and how far food travels.

The pop-up food system works by identifying the best producers and farmers from within an average distance of 28 miles from Putney who can then sell their produce directly to members via an online market.

Food Assembly organiser Floriane Malot said: “I used to visit farmers markets but there were none close to where I lived at the time.

“So I decided to find an alternative that would bring me healthier, tastier food that has travelled less.

“Many of our products are made on the day or picked the day before — it’s hard to get fresher than that.”

The concept also allows grass-route producers to keep more of their revenue that would otherwise go to the larger chain stores.

Food Assembly producers keep more than 80% of the profits from every sale compared to the 15%-20% they would receive through supermarket sales.

Shirley Scott, owner of Thirsty House Kombucha, which brews fermented teas for the Food Assembly, said: “We are a small, local brewery and the Food Assembly is an amazing source of customers we could not normally reach.

“It is so fulfilling to meet the people who enjoy what we are producing — we are not just selling to anonymous people.”

Food assembly 2TEA-M WORK: The assembly is good for both the producers and the customers

The concept originated in France in 2011 and has grown in popularity in the UK over the last three years.

Putney is the first area of south west London to start a food assembly and has already gained more than 380 members, despite only opening in May.

Judith Patton, a Food Assembly member from Richmond, said she was attracted to try it out because it offered the convenience of supermarket shopping with the fresh produce of a farmer’s market.

She said: “It is a form of convenience shopping but for stuff you will be really excited about.

“It is good, fresh food and you know exactly where it has come from. I’m so delighted that I found out about it.”

The Putney Food Assembly meets every Thursday evening at The Duke’s Head on Lower Richmond Road in Putney.

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