The loss of independent shops and unique High Streets is not inevitable. The right regulatory changes could stem the tide - and planning guidance is already helping to protect town centres.
Support local shops
The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) campaigns on behalf of the convenience stores it represents.
Local Food initiatives
Local food initiatives and organisations have been set up around the UK to support the local food sector and build healthier and more sustainable food production systems.
Local Action on Food Network
Is a network that supports local and regional activity promoting healthy and sustainable food. Established in 2008, it seeks to represent and help members of the network, by running projects, organising events, sharing good practice and offering members other support services. The network is co-ordinated by SUSTAIN.
City Farms and Community Gardens
City Farms and Community Gardens are community-based projects, primarily in urban areas, which provide green spaces and build community relationships and an awareness of gardening and farming. They include food-growing, courses and school visits, allotments and other community facilities. There are 59 City Farms and over 1000 Community Gardens in the UK, as well as school farms and community-managed allotments, attracting an estimated 500,000 volunteers a year. Visit the website to find out what is happening in your area.
Grow your own food
You can reduce environmental and financial costs by growing your own vegetables. Visit the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners website to find information on allotments and an allotment near you.
Where you can shop: positive alternatives
Read this inspiring article in The Guardian " People power is revolutionising the way we buy food" 27th June 2012.
Street markets can offer good quality produce at cheap prices, particularly for fresh fruit and vegetables. The New Economics Foundation has conducted research which showed the benefits street markets have for local economies and communities in London, offering fresh produce at 30% less than at supermarkets.
For further information on street markets, see the National Market Trader’s Federation, which has a search facility listing street markets across the UK.
Please read an article in the Ecologist, 11th September 2009 by Tom Hodgkinson "Bring back real markets" - Tom Hodgkinson lays out the case for the return of street markets. Wouldn't we all be better off living outside the box?
Farmers markets provide an offer of good quality produce from local producers. Research has show that the prices are broadly competitive with supermarkets. At farmers’ markets, growers and producers are present in person to sell their produce direct to the public. There are over 500 farmers markets in the UK, half of which are certified by FARMA. For more information and to locate a farmers’ market in your area, see the National Association of Farmers’ Markets website.