Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Food Assembly - The Future of Food

I found out about something the other day. And you're going to love it. 

Photo: The Food Assembly

You know how you go to the supermarket, and everything looks very clean, and clinical. It's usually chilly in there, too, to help keep everything fresh. 

You pick out your veg, meat and fish all wrapped in pre-packed, pre-labelled plastic bags. You might ask a staff member if they know of a good recipe for the beetroot you've just placed in your trolley. Or you might be interested in whether the beef in that pack is local or not, and where the cattle are raised. You might get lucky, but usually they'll not have a clue or trot off to find a manager who might. But they might not. 

Yes, supermarket shopping is convenient. And yes, you only have to visit one shop. But I can't help but think that our reliance on huge supermarkets has had an effect on our relationships with people. Namely, the farmers and producers that supply our fresh food. 

And maybe in turn, this has had an effect on our knowledge about food. Where I used to live, there was a friendly butcher who would always give you a tip on how to cook whatever you were buying, usually delivered with a smile and a wink and a 'let me know if you like it.' In my experience, I never got that from a supermarket. I think the gap that now exists between customers and producers has kind of sanitised our relationship with food. 

But maybe a lot of that is about to change,

Food Assembly is a UK based initiative designed to put people back in touch with their food producers. 

Photo: The Food Assembly
The idea is this. Someone sets up a Food Assembly in a public place - maybe a town hall, or school hall - and producers bring your order to that place, instead of delivering it to each house using couriers or delivery vans. You pick it up, have a natter with the producers while you're there and go on your way. And you get to ask them questions, recipe tips and new products they might have coming out - you might even manage to blag a visit to the farm or get invited along to a cooking demonstration. Sounds great, right? 

Photo: The Food Assembly

On the Food Assembly website, there's a map showing if there's already a Food Assembly in your area. And if there isn't one, then it's pretty easy to set one up yourself.

If you do set one up, it's a paid, part-time position and it would give you quite a lot of satisfaction I think to put customers and producers together. Visit the website or email for more details. 

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