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Unique way of shopping launched in Frome

A shopping revolution has started in Frome with the introduction of the Frome Food Assembly. 

The town has become one of the first in the country to adopt the scheme which is a ‘click-and-collect’ online weekly farmer’s market, run by and for the local community. Almost all produce is sourced from within 35 miles of Frome, most from far closer.

The idea of the service is to combine new technology with face-to-face interaction as goods are ordered online and collected at the  Cheese and Grain on Wednesday nights between 5.30pm-7.30pm.

The scheme was launched this week and it has been an early success with over 120 members of the Frome community already signed up.

One of the organisers Pia McGee said “Supermarket shopping isolates people buying food from those producing it. It’s time to ‘shake the hand that feeds you’, as Michael Pollan says. We love our farmers’ market, but if shopping local is to be part of our regular shop, we need ever more opportunities to do so, every week, and out-of-hours.

“It’s a transparent model, economically, socially and environmentally sustainable. I’m proud of the high margin the assembly gives to producers with them seeing 83.3% of every sale. The remainder is shared equally between the assembly for the website and card payment processing, and the assembly host. My job is to source the producers, hire the venue, and publicise the events. It’s also more than just a way of shopping, it’s a social gathering, joining those who grow with those who eat. Pick up your order, chat to the producers and you can even stick around to have a beer at the Cheese & Grain bar and enjoy some live music. Finally, you know that environmental standards are high, and there are very few food miles involved – almost all produce is sourced from within 35 miles of Frome, most from far closer. And because produce is all ordered and paid for in advance, online, there is little risk to the producer, and no waste.”

Suppliers of the Frome Food Assembly include Vallis Veg, Ivy House Farm Dairy, Wookey Farm, Somerset Traditional Breeds, Baltonsborough Farm Shop, The Wiltshire Smokehouse, The Old Bakehouse, Frome Country Market, Meadowside Café and Little Jack Horner.

Lois Gumm, owner of Meadowside Farm Cafe said, “It is a great idea and one that will benefit the town greatly. It is well-known that online shopping has made things harder for local independent retailers. This is a fantastic way of coming together to offer our services and allows the customers to shop with us at a more convenient time.”

There is no commitment to buy, or any minimum order quantities. It’s free to join, simply visit www.thefoodassembly.com/en/assemblies/164. Alternatively, visit their facebook page, www.facebook.com/TheFromeFoodAssembly.