Latest news from Big Barn and our producers.

Can a supermarket become a ‘farm’ shop?

Some highly commercial farm shops have become more like supermarkets with a huge range of products from hundreds of suppliers. So, can a supermarket ever become a farm shop?

An odd question you might think, so we probably need to define what is meant by ‘Farm Shop’? Traditionally farm shops would only get planning permission to sell what they produced on the farm. Over time, to meet customer’s needs, councils have allowed them to sell a wider range of goods eventually stocking whatever they wanted.

Local producer at the coop

Local producer at the coop

Many farmers in this position have sold their shops and in a few cases the new owners have transformed the shops with produce from all over the world, and don’t pay suppliers for up to 90 days. Just like Tesco. We may have a few Farm Shops on BigBarn like this and hope that our Feedback forms will either get them deleted or encourage them to change their ways!

Other ‘supermarkets’ have worked hard to get a big percentage of produce from local farmers and build a mutually beneficial working relationship. The produce is put it on the shelves the same day as picking, the producer is encouraged to come to the store for tastings, and to meet customers, and all are paid a fair price within 30 days. Like East of England Coops.11270285_816770648398493_7426649064317292554_o

I have previously written a blog about the perfect farm shop but realise that some of the main elements, such as reconnecting producers with consumers and giving both a fair deal, can be achieved in a supermarket environment.

When I first started BigBarn I said that supermarkets should become super-markets. A bit like a traditional market but where all the stallholders rent their space, consumers can fill their shopping basket and pay at the checkout with the money divided later.

As the East of England Coop are almost doing this we have added their Essex shops to the BigBarn map and linked to the suppliers pages on their website to help shoppers find out more about where their food comes from.

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