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Thanks so much to those of you who completed the Brexit survey last week. And apologies if you were unable to complete it because we'd closed it. We needed to analyse the results and didn’t want your input to be wasted.
As usual, you were generally very supportive and positive about how we work. Many of you said something along these lines: “Do whatever you think best supports the farmers you buy from.”
When asked what you would like us to do if there is limited availability of veg in coming months, you were evenly split between “provide less variety but increase the quantity (weight) of veg” (33%) and “supply what we can and reduce the cost of the bag” (32%). Some 25% said you’d be happy for us to “substitute organic veg with organic dry goods like pulses”, with more of you mentioning in the comments that this would be your second choice option – but preferably not every week! Less than 7% of you were comfortable with us sourcing veg from further afield.
Quite a few of you suggested that we could think about sourcing veg from local allotment schemes and private gardens. This isn’t an option for us as the veg scheme is certified organic – an important part of our key principles – so all our suppliers must be certified organic too.
But it is heartening to see a renewed focus on local food growing. As one of you said: “If ONE good thing could come out of Brexit perhaps it is us returning to locally sourced, soil nurtured, varied, seasonal veg being grown in this country… Perhaps people's attitudes to seasonal veg, waste, vegetarian diets will change when shopping becomes a bit more difficult.”
When we asked what you would like us to do if the cost of veg rises significantly, again your responses were split down the middle: 40% of you would prefer us to put less veg in the bags, while 41% would prefer us to keep the bags the same size but put the price up. The rest said you’d probably like to postpone your bag temporarily. Of course, it’s hard for you – and us – to make a judgment, when we can’t predict how much prices might rise in the short or long term.
Many of you echoed this view from one member: “Happy for prices to reflect reality as long as given advance warning and can adjust order/bag size accordingly.”
When it comes to fruit, 39% opted for having a smaller bag that costs less and 38% for reducing the variety but increasing the quantity of remaining fruit. Some 15% of members who have a fruit bag said you’d be OK with us sourcing more fruit from further afield.
Some of you wondered if we could offer dried fruit or jam instead; others suggested a combined fruit and veg bag. We’ll look into those possibilities if necessary.
Of course, we’ll keep you posted before making any major changes to the scheme, the bag contents or the pricing.
Thanks again for taking the time to give us your feedback and your support. It’s always a joy to read comments like this: “I think in these times of uncertainty and mistrust, Growing Communities offers hope and something to believe in, which I'm sure is a major reason that it has so many loyal customers including us. Keep up the good work, it's much appreciated.”
If you have anything further to add on options for the fruit and veg bags post-Brexit, please email us.
(Image of British-grown pulses courtesy of Hodmedod's)