Monday, 12 December 2011

Siop y Bobl, Cardiff

Siop y Bobl (The People’s Supermarket) held their latest meeting at the Festive Food Fair in Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff, on Saturday (10 Dec 2011). The members of the Core Team introduced themselves and unveiled their plans for the coming year.

A People’s Supermarket has been operating successfully in London for a couple of years, but Siop y Bobl will be a unique venture in Cardiff. It will run as a local co-operative and open for business toward the end of 2012.

The key stages that need to be achieved in the coming months are, firstly, the completion of the Business Plan, and then the opening of a business bank account. Grants and funding will then be applied for. Suitable premises will be sought, while publicity and marketing will be taken up a gear. People with the necessary skills will be bought on board, while existing members will undergo training in appropriate areas (e.g., through Welsh Government and co-operative movement training schemes). Finally, potential suppliers will be assessed, using the ethical, environmental and local community values that are at the heart of the business.

Gwion acted as spokesperson and outlined the plans, values, and the necessary steps needed to achieve their goal. The other Core Team members - Kate, Andrew, Becca, Richard and Graham – noted their particular interests within the project. These included environmental issues and the benefits of local food production, keeping profits within the community, the value of involving local people as members, and enhancing food security and reducing food wastage. All agreed that Siop y Bobl will provide an ethical and sustainable convenience shopping alternative for Cardiff.

Public Relations and publicity will be increasing important next year. A website is under construction (on-line shopping is under discussion). James from BBC Radio Wales was recording proceedings on Saturday and, as an observer, will be following Siop y Bobl until its opening. His reports will use Siop y Bobl as an example of an ongoing community project. Needless to say, I’ll also be following progress on this blog.

After the meeting itself, Richard organized the Cook Up competition. Two teams of three were chosen from the audience and asked to cook items selected from a “supermarket shelf” within 30 minutes. The items were not labeled by price, however, but by carbon ratings (an estimate of how food production adversely contributes to climate change). Such are the ethical decisions that will be made when it comes to stock Siop y Bobl.

Team B (there was no team A) cooked Chestnut, mushroom and tomato rigatoni, while Team C made a Butternut squash, spinach and lentil curry. I was honoured to be on the judging panel. It was a close call, but we awarded the prize to the rigatoni (the meaty chesnuts being an inspired touch that really worked).

This will be the website (it’s still early days):

The People’s Supermarket in London (Siop y Bobl hopes to emulate its success):

No comments:

Post a Comment