Two cousins who quit their jobs to launch an online business are hoping to bridge the gap between farmers and consumers.
Your Food Collective is the brainchild of Lauren Branson and Cara Cooper. Fresh food, they say, tastes better and is better for the environment. The problem is that it’s not always easy – or convenient – to shop for it.
That’s where Your Food Collective steps in.
You go online, place your order and pick it up from the designated inner-city “hub” once a week. It’s as simple as that.
“Our main point of difference is that we deal directly with growers within a 200-kilometre radius of Newcastle. We are providing an avenue for them to break into the online market,” Branson told Food & Wine.
“And we’re not connecting you to on-sellers. You’re actually buying straight from the grower while sitting on your couch. Our growers set their price and take 80 per cent, earning two to three times more than they would selling to a supermarket.”
The mother of five moved to Newcastle from Sydney seven years and was surprised to learn that produce sold at markets wasn’t necessarily being offered by genuine growers.
“We hear stories about how growers are being pushed out of the market by people who on-sell. Anyone can rock up to the markets and sell what they bought at Flemington earlier that day, and for less. It’s difficult for our growers to compete with that,” Branson said.
“Your Food Collective only sells what our producers have grown or made themselves.”
So far, the following producers have signed up to Your Food Collective: Amber Drop Honey; Baked Uprising; Eastcoast Beverages; Garden Fresh; The Golden Egg Farm; Hunter Natural; Hunter Valley Produce; Serious Deliria; Tyliss Family Fresh; Udder Farm and Ocean View Produce. They will drive just-picked (or made) produce to The Edwards at Newcastle West on Wednesdays between 11.30am and 1.30pm. Customers then pick up their orders between 2pm and 4pm.
It doesn’t get much fresher than that.
“It seems so silly that food grown in the Hunter or the mid-North Coast is driven all the way down to Sydney and someone buys it and sells it to a retail shop or market stall and it finally comes back to us,” Branson said.
“It should be coming straight from the farm to us.”