As regular readers will already know, every month in Etc Magazine we showcase a different Sussex-based member of Local Food Britain. Well, if you’ve ever wanted to know a bit more about our not-for-profit membership organisation, which is celebrating its fifth anniversary in Sussex this month, now is the chance to find out more.
In a nutshell, we all know how important it is to shop locally, so Local Food Britain makes it simple to find shops, restaurants and farmers’ markets near you that stock and serve locally-sourced food and drink. We do this in two ways – through our free and easy-to-use website, localfoodbritain.com, and with our Local Food Britain ‘approved member’ badges, which you’ll see on display at pubs, restaurants, farm shops and cafés.
So, whether you’re searching for organic vegetables, local honey or sustainable fish, we can help you to find it. Plus, you’ll have the added reassurance that by buying from our members, you’re keeping food miles low and giving vital support to your local food economy.
What is more, delve a little deeper into our website and you’ll also find a treasure trove of seasonal recipes using local produce, and in-depth articles telling the stories behind our members and their food and drink. You can also find out about foodie goings-on near you on our events pages – from regular markets to one-time-only pop-up restaurants.
Whilst it’s true that we have ambitions to grow into a national organisation, Local Food Britain actually started on the Sussex/Surrey borders – where our roots still very much remain today. In fact, we held a launch party in the middle of a cow field at Bookham Harrison Farms in Rudgwick. Whilst it may not sound like the most glamorous of locations, it was actually the perfect setting, with stunning views over the Sussex countryside.
Today, we have a whole host of fantastic independent food producers in Sussex. Fancy some fish for your Friday-night supper? Then head to Veasey and Sons in Horsham and Forest Row. Want to try a local tipple? How about the delicious soft drinks from Gran Stead’s Ginger Co at Mile Oak? Always had a secret yearning to make your own cheese? Then you’re sure to enjoy reading about High Weald Dairy who run cheese-making courses in their barn at Horsted Keynes.
A growing concern
Of course, though we originally started out as Local Food Surrey in 2011 and quickly expanded to add Local Food Sussex a few years later, it wasn’t long before we realised that there was an appetite for a local food-finding website that went well beyond our home county borders. So, not long after, we launched Local Food Britain, expanding into Kent, Hampshire, London and beyond – and the rest, as they say, is history.
Today, we have several hundred members, whom we are delighted to showcase both on our website, through our social-media platforms and in articles such as this one. We also help to judge at national initiatives such as the Great Taste Awards.
Last year, we held our inaugural countryside food festival, just over the Surrey border in stunning surroundings at Priory Farm in South Nutfield. We’re delighted to announce that the next one will take place there over two days on Saturday September 14 and Sunday September 15 – and a number of our Sussex-based members are sure to be joining us.
So, whether you’re looking for butter from the South Downs or bresaola from Brighton, it's easy to make the switch to local when you know where to look.