Regather is a community benefit society based in Sheffield. We turnover >£500k per annum and employ over 20 people. Food sits at the heart of our approach to community wealth building, and our vision for the mutual local economy. We work to enable a values based food system, where money is retained in the local economy, land is more productive, food is better quality, health is improved and people have better awareness of and involvement with how the food system, from local to global, can be changed for the better.
The existing food system is working against the notions of resilience, sustainability and fairness and puts those who are most vulnerable to market failure at the most risk. Therefore Regather does not identify a specific disadvantaged group, but seeks to make the local food system more resilient, sustainable and fair for all, including those most in need.
In our local community too many food system interventions focus on redistribution of surplus or donated food from supermarkets and convenience food retailers. Most of these foodstuffs are high fat, salt or sugar foods and limited quantities of fresh fruit and vegetables are offered. These interventions offer immediate access to food, but do not address (and can negatively reinforce) poor health caused by diet, and offer limited secondary local economic benefit.
In contrast Regather’s focus on food production, rather than food redistribution, can connect flows of locally produced fresh fruit and vegetables with health and social care interventions, which in turn can change food buying, cooking and eating habits and positively address issues relating to poor health caused by diet. The financial transactions involved in producing, processing, buying and selling local food enables a more productive landscape and opportunities for local economic benefit to be created.
Local people getting involved in this food production, either on a voluntary or paid basis, are able to access proven health benefits from spending time outdoors engaged in nature and physical activity. In situations where this food can be produced to ecological or certified organic standards there is potential for significant environmental benefits such as improved soil health, insect health, wildlife conservation and local biodiversity.
Regather is also lead partner and accountable body for ShefFood, the Sustainable Food Places member for Sheffield, and works nationally with Sustain, Land Workers Alliance, Shared Assets, CSA UK and the Soil Association to promote sustainable food for all.