[Ethical Interviews]

[5 December 2017]

Your Food Collective Founder, Lauren Branson

Our wedding photographers Bec and Kath love food! Bec is especially passionate about creating healthy meals for her family and captures this beautifully on her instagram feed @bec_peterson

Photo: Bec Peterson

So when these two food lovers recently discovered a new ethical crew in Newcastle, Your Food Collective, we got online and ordered a truckload of amazing locally grown veggies, dairy products and meat and were blown away by the quality of the produce and the friendly, efficient crew.

Founder of Your Food Collective Lauren Branson was generous enough to have a chat with our awesome copywriter Ben about what it’s like to set out on the road to building a collective-based business, and how what she has learnt can help to create ethical weddings.

Ben: First things first, how long have you been operating, and how does Your Food Collective work?

Lauren: We have been brewing Your Food Collective for over 2 years now. Good things take time and like most businesses there are a lot of moving parts. We are really excited to say that we have been trading for four weeks and have had amazing support from local producers and customers.

Ben: Where did the inspiration for Your Food Collective come from, and how did you bring it to life?

“it’s alarming the rate at which Australia is losing it’s small to medium sized farms”

Lauren: The team at Your Food Collective have always been passionate about local produce and celebrating the people behind the food we eat. Ever since I can remember roadside fruit stands and farmers markets have been a fixture in our lives. The thing that struck us, is that in your day to day life it’s really hard to get your hands of fresh local produce. Supermarkets are so disappointing and it’s alarming the rate at which Australia is losing it’s small to medium sized farms because they are getting pushed out of the market. We believe there is a real opportunity to use technology to reconnect local food networks. Consumers are hungry for change and producers need new markets in order to survive.

“we can create a food system centered around local communities that’s fresher and fairer”

You could say we are on a mission to achieve certain ethical goals. We want everyone to live on fresh, deliciously tasty food that has been grown locally by people they know. We want producers to be paid fairly for the work they do, so they can continue growing amazing food. We want people to live in strong communities where you know your neighbours and have the support you need to dream big dreams…. And yes, it all starts with food.

So after two years of research and development we launched the business in early November 2017. We’ve got a long way to go but have been really encouraged by the support we have received so far and truly believe that together we can create a food system centered around local communities that’s fresher and fairer.

Ben: How are people responding to the Collective, and what are your hopes for the future of the organisation?

Lauren: We have had an amazing response so far which has been fantastic. We are dreaming of a future where eating locally and creating stronger communities through something as simple as food is completely mainstream. There is always a bigger picture to everything we do.

Ben: Can you tell us a bit about how you think Your Food Collective can is making a difference by adopting an ethical approach?

“we’re often eating food that tastes like cardboard, is empty of nutrients and traveled half the globe to reach our plates”

Lauren: The biggest challenge we face is teaching people what it means to eat locally and seasonally. People are so removed from their food these days that a lot of that knowledge has been lost. Helping people understand the nutritional and environmental cost of having everything available all the time. It means we’re often eating food that tastes like cardboard, is empty of nutrients and traveled half the globe to reach our plates.

Ben: We are interested in ethical services and ways of doing business, but especially how to make weddings happen in an ethical way. Can Your Food Collective help people out who want to plan an ethical wedding (both people getting married, and people who provide services for weddings) – and can you offer any advice on how team up with or make sure you are using ethical vendors?

Lauren: We would be really excited to work with wedding parties and their caterers to help provide a local menu on their special day. We would also encourage people to think outside the square when it comes to things like bombonieries and wedding favors – make it sustainable by choosing something local and edible. Get in touch and start the conversation, you never know where it will lead.

Thanks Ben and I hope you’ve enjoyed your produce!

Ben: We sure did thanks Lauren, and thanks for your time.

 

We genuinely did get a lot out of it. We saved money, ate delicious, super healthy food all week and also became more mindful of the impacts large scale farming, long distance distribution and supermarket monopolies are having.

Check out their site here www.yourfoodcollective.com, order your stuff online, and pick it up at The Edwards on a Wednesday, all sorted and stored in boxes and ready to go.

Check out Kath picking up her groceries from The Edwards on her bike (a Katu from Metro Cycles) all loaded up with the lush green leafy stuff going everywhere, super sized beetroot and sweet tomatoes – we accidentally ordered two kilos (not single) cucumbers, but we were stoked, so bloody tasty.

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