We were funded by Friends Provident Foundation to explore the ways in which community food growing contributes to local economic resilience, and produce a set of guides for community food enterprises and local authorities.

Over the course of an 18 month action learning project we worked with three leading community food enterprises, Ecological Land Cooperative, Organiclea and Kindling Trust, to understand how food growing supports local economic development and the challenges they face creating sustainable businesses and livelihoods.

Earth stewards at OrganicLea.

Through research, site visits, workshops, and interviews with local authorities and other landowners, we have produced a series of guides for community enterprises and for local authorities who work with them.

Guides for community food enterprises

These accessible, easy-to-read guides are packed full of information and include exercises you can undertake with your group to help you strengthen and evidence your contribution to the development of strong and resilient organisations, livelihoods, networks and local economies.

Local economic resilience. This guide sets out how community food enterprises contribute to local economic resilience and suggests ways in which you might provide evidence of your impact. This can help strengthen the case you can make to local authorities, funders and others when looking for support or access to land.

Access to land: working with local authorities. This guide provides advice and guidance to help you work with local authorities to secure access to land to establish and develop your businesses

Better food systems. This guide helps you identify what elements you need to be place to create a resilient local food system. What roles do you play, who do you need to work with, and what’s missing in your area?

Understanding the planning system. This guide sets out all you need to know about applying for planning permission for structures and dwellings for small scale agriculture and community enterprises.

Guides for local authorities

Community food enterprises do more than just grow food. They also offer employment, training, education and an array of opportunities for community participation. What’s more, they care for the environment and help build cultures of fair, cooperative trade whilst creating new economic opportunities, contributing to more vibrant local markets and high streets, and shortening supply chains in the local food system.

In order to deliver these benefits they often need a supportive local authority to provide access to land and growing spaces, make connections to §others within the public and private sectors and wider civil society, who can help them thrive, and enable them to develop their growing sites sustainably.

Local economic resilience: the role of community food enterprises. This guide uses case studies, and draws on interviews with local authority officers and elected members, to set out the benefits that community food growers can deliver to local economic resilience and how local authorities can best support them.

Essential rural workers’ accommodation for local authorities. This guide sets out the primary considerations for decision makers when determining applications for low impact agricultural dwellings in England, and helps identify applications that should be granted consent.

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