Hungry for More… one year on

Hungry for More… one year on

It’s been just over a year since I returned from my Churchill Fellowship trip to South America to study community food enterprises and how they can be scaled up for public benefit. I spent a very happy few weeks talking to enterprises in the UK before visiting counterparts in Peru and Bolivia.

It was a huge privilege to travel and to meet entrepreneurs, producers, and finance and support providers in all three countries. I came away with a set of recommendations which are summarised in this blog and in a report, Hungry for More.

So, what has happened since?

Sharing

I presented my findings to UK funders, support providers and social entrepreneurs at the RSA in November 2019, and on a Food Power webinar with Churchill Fellow Simon Shaw from Sustain in March 2020.

I also met with a dozen organisations and individuals exploring investing in the food space, including Triodos Investment Management – who aim to accelerate the transition to more sustainable agricultural systems and consumption patterns.

Connecting

Recommendation #2 in my report was to increase the number of programmes which help product-based social enterprises access mainstream retail and corporate markets. Social Investment Scotland’s retail academy with Asda is a great example of this, and I connected key players Social Enterprise UK and UnLtd to this programme so that they can consider partnering or replicating the approach.

Taking action

Back at work at Big Society Capital, we have taken action in two ways:

1) We are Buying Social as much as possible, such as buying our office supplies from social enterprises and using social catering providers and venues for our events. The recently improved SEUK directory is a great help with this. During the covid-19 crisis we are revisiting the best way to continue supporting the sector.

2) We have recently backed the Good Food Fund, a new £1.8m accelerator and venture Fund backing ambitious food and drink challenger brands ready to help tackle childhood obesity, in partnership with Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity. We’re excited to be working with healthier challenger brands to deliver market-led solutions to one of the biggest health challenges facing the nation. I hope to see this work build on recommendations #7 and #8 in my report: support tailored to different impact models, and flexible and tailored financial products for the sector.

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