A New Way To Shop Local
A new REKO marketplace is helping to ring the changes on shopping local. Burntwood Farm and Worthy Earth have announced a new initiative for 2022 that radically changes the way ethical food is bought and sold in the local area. This new model involves establishing a collective of food producers and customers in an online group known as a REKO ring - an abbreviation for “fair consumption” in Finnish, its country of origin.
REKO is essentially an independent marketplace. This new sales model for small-scale food producers and consumers provides an alternative to the unsustainable supply chain model of the major supermarkets. The REKO model uses a social media group which matches up customers with local producers, enabling customers to benefit from access to a range of high quality local produce, such as meat, vegetables, eggs, preserves and milk, while producers can charge fair prices without middlemen cuts or hidden supermarket fees.
Edmund Sutcliffe of Burntwood Farm explains: “With REKO, we can collectively support a different way of buying food which is produced solely by people in the local area, in a caring and sustainable manner that reduces carbon emissions and plastic packaging associated with supermarket-bought food. It is a small, active step customers can take to make a big social impact on the future of our society. This model has already enjoyed great success in Scandinavia and is spreading over the world, creating a supportive economic environment for small-scale, ethical food production. The REKO model increases the supply of local, high quality food alternatives, benefiting customers who are conscious about where their food comes from. It is a grassroots sales model that benefits everyone involved and the environment.
“It works via a Facebook group, created between a collective of local food producers. Ours is called REKO Ring (Hampshire, UK). Local customers are invited to join this Facebook group (which can also be an email list if you don’t have a FB account, sign up at www.holisticland.co.uk/reko). Each week members of the group are notified by the producers about availability of products and prices. Members of the group can then go to the producers’ website and order their products, choosing REKO as the delivery option. A weekly collection point and time has been established where all producer-members of the group bring their pre-sold products to customers who have already reserved and bought them. Customers can therefore collect products bought from different producers at the same time in the same place. This means producers can get back to their farm duties quickly and customers can resume their lives with a car boot full of fresh, ethical, local produce with minimal hassle.
“Producers and customers are able to meet face-to-face, old-fashioned style, empowered by modern social technology and without having to hand over money. Social media platforms like Facebook can be used as a general force of good, if used for the purposes of organising more efficient, shorter food supply chains within our local area, restoring power to local people and food producers alike. We would like to thank Hampshire Fare and Winchester City Council for their support with this new initiative.”
The first REKO Ring will be at 10-11am on Saturday 29th January in Area 8 (1st left after entrance), East Winchester Park & Ride (St Catherine’s), Winchester, SO23 9NP.