Food related projects

Growing and eating healthy food has a number of health and wellbeing benefits from gardening, to balanced diets and reducing food miles. It can also bring diverse communities together through food and improving pride of place.

The list below provides signposting to a range of organisations, resources, good practice, case studies, templates, evidence reports, demonstrating impact, developing enterprise, income generation and so on. The focus is on developing routes to viability through selling, networks and other enterprising approaches.

Growing Together

Growing Together is a new partnership initiative of community and environmental sector organisations that will unlock income, land and skills for community growing groups to them become financially self-sustaining.

They provide a range of direct advice and support services to community growing groups, as well as signposting resources, awareness-raising and strategic leadership, supported by the Big Lottery Fund.

Growing Together is a UK partnership of community and environmental organisations including the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens, Groundwork UK, Plunkett Foundation, Incredible Edible Network, Permaculture Association, Development Trusts Association (Scotland), Wales Cooperative Centre (Wales) and Cooperative Alternatives (Northern Ireland).

There are a number of useful website links for reports and approaches such as small scale income generation activities, and corporate social responsibility volunteering opportunities, income generation, equipment discounts etc.


Sustain advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, promote equity and enrich society and culture.

The Sustain Website has a plethora of reports and information covering a huge variety of food  related activities including securing investment for projects, food pricing approaches, monitoring and evaluation, how to set up a horticultural enterprise from scratch etc.

Plunkett Foundation

Plunkett Foundation helps communities to take control of their challenges and overcome them through co-operation. They support people, predominantly in rural areas, to set up and run life-changing community co-operatives; enterprises that are owned and run democratically by large numbers of people in their community.

Plunkett website has links to small food hub approaches, toolkits for food cooperatives, farmers markets, legal governance approaches, inspiring examples, and links to initiatives such as Urban Community shops.

Open Food Network (OFN)

In January 2016 the Open Food Network UK secured funding for a national roll out. Since then Food Hubs, Food Banks, Food Co-ops, Independent Shops, Markets and Farmers’ Markets, Farm Shops and a wide range of food and drink producers have been joining to make an increasingly rich, diverse and effective Open Food Network in the UK

OFN UK is designed to make local food projects more viable, easier to run and more convenient for customers.

Food Hubs on the Open Food Network can choose to sell their own produce and the produce of other producers. This could be a farm, Coop society or box scheme that would like to include other products within its distribution, and allow customers to easily choose their options and replacements.

Setting up an enterprise and products on OFN UK is free!  This allows enterprises to sell those products through any of the existing OFN shopfronts. If an enterprise wants to set up its own shopfront they can have a 6 month free trial and are then invited to contribute to running costs on a ‘pay-as-you–feel’ basis.

OFN UK is a Platform Cooperative – part of the Solidarity or Sharing Economy. The goal is to support the distribution of as much local food as possible. If you’d like to discuss how OFN could work for your local food enterprise get in touch.

Community Food Growers Network

Community Food Growers Network is an informal network of people involved in community food growing in London. They share ideas, information and skills around the importance of growing food in the city, and campaign on issues important to food growers and are rooted in their local communities.

There is a growing urban food movement, providing a means for access to sustainably sourced, locally produced, fresh and nutritious food for local communities.

Food Assembly

There are a number of organisations nationally under the Food Assembly banner who are developing routes to market locally and making ethical purchasing easier. Food Assembly state that food should be sourced from the most local source possible, that seasonality, traceability and transparency is maintained, and that products are sourced from small or medium scale producers engaged in sustainable farming or food production methods.

The website provides more information on the various networks around the country, the process for customers seeking to order online as well as approaches for Supplier Assemblies and so linking consumers and producers together.

Community Café approaches

Other useful links and resources

Eden Project Big Lunch Extra

Big Lunch Extras is a support scheme for individuals in the UK wishing to start a community initiative or take existing projects to the next level. It’s a Big Lottery funded project run by the Eden Project, which builds on the success of the Big Lunch programme.

Local food webinar

Listen back to our webinar on local food to get insight and learn what support is available for food-related community initiatives and developing businesses.

Read more


There is a growing network linking customers who care passionately about sourcing ethical food with suppliers seeking to grow shared values markets. There is a lot of collaboration, good practice being shared, an increasing geographical spread across the Country and a clear focus on developing social enterprising approaches to grow and sustain the approaches.

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Useful links

Useful links for neighbourhood planners.


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