Real Economy is more than just a way to buy or sell food. It’s a collective of people who want to transform the current food system. Whether it’s hyper-low supermarket prices that eat into farmers’ livelihoods, or food-banks that many find an undignified response to a worsening crisis, we want to change the status quo so the food system treats everyone with respect.

Real Economy is planning to set up a network of Community Food Centres in the disadvantaged areas of the city modelled on inspiring work in Canada. Community Food Centres are an alternative to food banks, providing food aid to people in crisis in the context of a weekly community gathering that includes a programme of education about food and health as well as activities associated with personal resilience and the re-imagining of society.

This project is the result of six months research around existing provision in the city with a view to complementing what is already in place. The Community Food Centre approach we are proposing is a first in the UK food aid scene in several respects, such as being committed to supporting the development of a resilient, sustainable local economy, sourcing food from local producers and working to enhance community development. It will work to generate a diverse community, drawing in asylum seekers, refugees and working across faith traditions, providing food in such a way that those who are paying for their food and those who are receiving free or discounted food are indistinguishable. We will work to the vision of ‘a city where no one need be hungry and no one need be alone’.

The network will be resourced from a central community food centre, located in the St Pauls, Easton, Old Market area, which will be like other food centres in serving the community, but also include a food production facility that is preparing food for vulnerable people and a business incubator for new food businesses.

We will update the website with more information as our plans progress.