Presentation on theme: "What makes this food co-op a co-operative?’ - ‘We just are’: Findings from a three-year evaluation of food co-ops in England, 2009-2012 Julie Smith Georgia."— Presentation transcript:
What makes this food co-op a co-operative?’ - ‘We just are’: Findings from a three-year evaluation of food co-ops in England, Julie Smith Georgia Machell Martin Caraher Centre for Food Policy, City University, London
Overview of presentation Project background Policy context Methodology Findings Case studies Emerging issues
Project background Phase 1 – January 2010 – June 2010 Phase 2 – February June 2012 Evaluation for Making Local Food Work food co-op programme
Methodology Phase 1: Visit 3 co-ops in 3 areas – London, Somerset and the North East Phase 2: Visit 2 co-ops in each of the 9 English regions Look at a range of co-ops Develop case studies on co-ops and look specifically at the perceived impact Use of a range of methods: observation, interviews, reports, website data, graffiti walls and surveys.
Key Findings 80% (n=18) of food ‘co-ops’ visited not food co- ops in traditional sense Spectrum of food co-op types 83% (n=18) of food co-ops that were evaluated were reliant on volunteers and funding long-standing food co-ops (that operated formal co-operative structures) had taken steps to become financially secure, they developed business plans and used a mixture of paid workers and volunteers.
Types of food co-ops (n=18)
Organisational Structures (n=18)
Health initiative Health impacts "Introducing people to foods they might not have tried before" "People are becoming used to cooking with (f+v) and therefore more inclined to buy more in future." "Encourages people to buy fruit and veg who wouldn't normally do so" "Walk more often to collect fruit/veg than I would do if only shopping online with supermarkets" "Opportunities to discuss wider issues with contacts 'grapevine'"
Bringing it all to life – community led Case study 1 Region: Yorkshire and Humberside Type of Co-op: Stall Outlet: Church Focus: Working with young people in the community Organiser: Church youth club
Bringing it all to life – health initiative Region: London Type of Co-op: Weekly fruit and vegetable stall Outlet: at a community centre (part of wider NHS project) Date established: 2005 Focus: Promoting 5-A- Day Organiser: NHS
Co-ops and food ‘like once they (the wholesaler) put in courgettes and aubergines – people don’t want it. They just want their staples - which are potatoes, onions, carrots, cauliflowers – where the prices are lower’. ‘yes, we go for local if we can but here we are deprived, and so price matters.’
Why are we a co-op? “We don’t have a legal status as a co- operative but we rely on people and that, I have to say, is the key stress point for us” “We co-operate with our supplier” “We just are”
Emerging issues Co-ops of co- ops? Food co-ops as a mechanism for delivering community needs Tensions between sustainability focused and health focused co-ops Is it okay to use a generic term for a range of projects? Capitalist co-ops