Bruntsfield residents launch bid to grow support for community-owned greengrocer

Bruntsfield residents launch bid to grow support for community-owned greengrocer’s
The Guardian, By Andrew Torr
28.11.13

The newly formed Community Benefit Society was set up by a group of volunteers – including residents, traders and, the Green Councillor for Meadows and Morningside, Melanie Main.

A community share offer, launched with support from The Co-operative Enterprise Hub, has set out to raise £30,000 to establish an ethically driven enterprise called "Dig-In Bruntsfield" and bring locally-sourced, seasonal and organic fresh fruit and vegetables back to the High Street.

The newly formed Community Benefit Society was set up by a group of volunteers – including residents, traders and, the Green Councillor for Meadows and Morningside, Melanie Main – who got together in January after more than 200 people attended a public meeting to explore the need for a community-owned greengrocers to compliment the areas other independent stores.

Caroline Rye, a member of Dig-In Bruntsfield, said: "We have been delighted by the enthusiasm and interest shown so far and have priced shares in the enterprise at £25 to encourage as many people as possible to get involved and help get the shop up and running. Dig-In is all about bringing the community together through a love of good food, as well as making healthy, fresh produce available in the area.

"Our aim is to give local residents the chance to invest in and contribute to the local economy, and provide a better way for them to feed themselves and their families as part of a wider sustainable food culture in the city. We aim to strengthen community spirit by working with schools and other local groups. In addition, by supporting local producers, we plan to reconnect people with the food they buy, cook and eat every day."

There has been a near 25% increase in the number of UK co-operative enterprises since 2009. Michael Fairclough, head of community and co-operative investment at the Co-operative – which assisted the community through its Co-operative Enterprise Hub, said: "By working together people can be powerful catalysts for change capable of overcoming many of the challenges facing society, the environment and economy. Co-operation can be key to bringing about the changes that people want to see in their communities."

The community share offer launch event is to take place at the Bruntsfield Hotel at 7:30pm on Thursday 21 November. Guest speakers include; Lesley Riddoch, award-winning broadcaster, journalist and author of "Blossom: What Scotland Needs to Flourish" and, Heather Anderson and Pete Ritchie from Whitmuir Farm, West Linton.

Dig-In has secured premises in Bruntsfield Place and aims to raise £30,000 by March 2014. Shares in Dig-In are priced from £25 up to a maximum investment of £20,000 with each member of the society having an equal say in its running.

For more information about plans to create a community-owned greengrocer’s in Bruntsfield and to obtain a copy of the share offer document visit their website or email them on info@diginbruntsfield.co.uk.