Blog

Latest news from Big Barn and our producers.

BigBarn entry for the 2018 BBC Food & Drink Awards

As you can imagine we love Radio 4’s Food Programme and have been featured a few times. Sheila Dillon even said that she thought BigBarn was ‘astonishing’!!

We have lots of award winners on our map including last years well deserved champions Hodmedods.

This year BigBarn has entered because our new One Map, One Data, initiative could make a big difference to the future of the food industry. While writing the application I thought it made for a very good ‘About Us’ update so here it is. Please read on and comment if you feel moved.

Constantly updating and growing Local Food Map

Please describe the work or initiative you are nominating. What is this business / organisation doing and why; when was it launched and what impact has it had already? (in 250-300 words)

BigBarn has been trading for 17 years with a mission to build sustainable food communities by reconnecting consumers with their local producers and encourage trade and communication.

Trade to encourage farmers to grow food instead of commodities and communication to empower consumers to influence farmers to grow more food, and gain knowledge about fresh, seasonal, healthy, food.

bigbarn.co.uk gets 3,500 visitors per day, has 7,000 local food producers and retailers on its Local Food Map and 560 have opted to have online shops in the BigBarn MarketPlace, where 19,000 consumers have set up quick pay accounts.

BigBarn offers local food outlets an icon on the Local Food Map and password to add customer winning content like video, offers, text, images, or online shop to sell through the map or MarketPlace,

I love veg now

BigBarn has also developed initiatives to help build communities around food and increase food knowledge. These include Crop for The Shop where local people and schools grow food to sell through their local farmer or shop. This also allows shops to connect and gain buy-in from the community.

BigBarn latest innovation, and why it is entering this award, is the One Map One data initiative where everyone can share, promote, add to, and earn from, the same map.

This fits perfectly with BigBarn’s CIC status and is done by offering all BigBarn content in an API to allow anyone to promote the map, and content, on their website to look as though it is theirs and share any income through an affiliate scheme.

So far 60 sites have taken the code including Slow Food, RBST, BFA and regional food groups. Many more are following. BBC, Jamie???

Fresh local food with no packaging

All to divert a large proportion of the £120b spent with supermarkets to local trade with massive social benefits for all.

Provide some context: why is this work relevant to the future of food in the UK and perhaps further afield? How might it influence the wider food industry longer term? (200-300 words)

We must give farmers a better deal than the average 9p in every £1 spent on food in the supermarket. Farm incomes have been steadily dropping and without EU subsidies many would not make money.

We must also improve food knowledge. Many children think that milk comes from supermarkets, not cows, and potatoes grow on trees. This has led to a growing obesity crisis currently costing the nation £47b.

We are also importing cheap, meat that has been reared under lower animal welfare standards than Uk farmers.

There is however hope and a better way:
Many farmers selling direct are making a good profit and encouraging local consumers to buy and cook with their freshly grown produce. Likewise some consumers are encouraging their local farmers to grow food.

Some schools are linking with farm shops to grow food and bring their food growing in to their curriculum. “I hate Carrots” becomes “These raw carrots out the veg patch are delicious, I am going to grow some at home for my mum”.

Some schools and hospitals have opted out of the usual public food procurement through big distributors and saved huge amounts by sourcing direct from local farmers.

This new way could save food and farming. To catalyse its growth we need a constantly updating and evolving local food map that everyone promotes, uses and shares. With a constantly growing database of case studies to help improve every food community.

We need to change the unsociable, unsustainable, national, food industry, to a sociable, sustainable, inclusive, local, food industry with massive benefits for all.

So there is the full story. We welcome your comments below as well as help building the map. If you are a consumer please check the map in your area and email us any errors or omissions. A producer or retailer please visit this page for more on the benefits of joining and add your details. or if you have a website and would like our map and earn commission on trade and sign ups email [email protected]

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *