Better Food Traders

Turning The Mainstream Food System On Its Head

Fran Halsall Regather

Partners | Accreditation | Impact: Better Food Traders

Welcome to the first in a series of blogs and posts about Regather and our partners! Week by week, we’re going to walk you through who we work with, and outline what our shared role is in creating a better food system for everyone. That’s a mission that sits at the heart of everything we do. And we want you to be confident that when you buy food from Regather, it means you are contributing to local, independent and quality food, that doesn’t cost the earth. 

First up is Better Food Traders, an organisation that helps food businesses trade in a fair, sustainable, and transparent way. Better Food Traders have created a network that supports the voices of the food retailers who share their values, with Regather among their many members. 

Better Food Traders are seeking to turn the mainstream food system on its head. By harnessing collective power, the organisations that make up Better Food Traders help not only each other, but consumers. The network offers a real alternative to those seeking to address the climate crisis through their food choices. By becoming involved with Better Food Traders, Regather has joined a community of inspiring leaders in the sustainable food sector, and we’re able to access learning and development tools to help us grow. 

Why does it matter?

‘Fairer for growers, easier on the planet, and healthier for our minds and bodies’

The mainstream food system must be replaced with one that makes food work better. “Better”, according to Better Food Traders, means fairer for growers, easier on the planet, and healthier for our minds and bodies. It goes without saying that the mainstream food system has its benefits. At face value, we get a large amount of choice at a low price. But this comes with a significant cost, a cost on our communities, farmers, and the planet. Profits are built on low wages and insecure work, and producers and suppliers are not paid a fair price for their produce. Supermarkets control a huge 95% of the grocery market, and their business models are based on profit, rather than seasonality, locality, or nutrition. The impact of this is devastating the environment, in terms of pesticide use, industrialised monocultures, transport pollution, loss of habitat and species, as well as significant waste. On top of this, we’re facing significant community erosion, as households and communities are losing touch with real food and have become passive consumers in a top down system from which they expect unlimited choice but over which they have little control.

How can we fix this?

Better Food Traders outline a series of values that seek to improve the food system. Better Food Traders should be:

  1. Mission driven, trading for social purpose, not to maximise profit. Transparency, trust and co-operation throughout the food chain.
  2. Sourcing food sustainably using food zones as a framework. 
  3. Trading fairly.
  4. Championing ecological farming and food production. 
  5. Promoting ways of eating that are good for both people and planet.
  6. Operating in a low carbon way.
  7. Building a strong community.
  8. Striving to change the bigger picture. 

Regather’s Role

At Regather, we seek to echo these values in everything we do.

Regather is a worker owned community benefit society, run with co-operative values. We are a thriving community of local people working to improve food for Sheffield and contribute to a better, sustainable, shared future globally. We source food directly from our Sheffield based, Organically certified Farm, and join forces with other local growers and award winning independent businesses across the region to make it easy to shop local and provide you with the best quality, value driven products each delivery in our Regather Box.