From the Ground Up (FGU), a working group of Transition Town Kingston, is a volunteer run, not for profit, organic fresh fruit and vegetable box scheme. The box scheme was launched in March 2010 as a buying group for eight families in response to the high expense and inaccessibility of organic food. The group was very clear in its goal of sourcing organic fruit and vegetables at affordable prices whilst supporting sustainable food systems. The principles underpinning FGU are:
What started as a vision and a shared passion for safe, good food, now boasts:
FGU has recently expanded its offerings to include organic bread from one of London’s few organic bakeries and organic cheese from Somerset. FGU currently has a 20% order rate each cycle – an enviable rate by most standards. We attribute this to repeat orders from happy customers.
FGU follows a cooperative working model, although it is not formally registered as one. FGU has an ‘each voice counts’ membership, inviting all members to participate in decisions. We operate within the Transition Town umbrella but are autonomous in the pursuit of our objectives. We aim to become a source of information on the benefits of healthy eating and responsible farming and are sharing ideas and best practices with other like-minded initiatives, starting with participating in a mentoring scheme with Stroudco. And, most importantly we aim to engender a spirit of community with designated meeting and working locations.
We firmly believe FGU is filling an untapped need in the Kingston community as evident by its rapid growth and enthusiasm of its customers for affordable and accessible organic products. The first year of operation has been focused on establishing our processes and infrastructure whilst creating a presence in the community. For 2011 we are ready to embark on Phase 2: broadening our reach into the community through adding collection hubs to our FGU network and introducing several educational and cooking activities on food related topics. We are also working on introducing an online ordering system that would make purchasing food from FGU easier and accessible to more users.
(All pics are taken by Dan Ball. Many thanks for his permission to use them in the book).