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Making Local Food Work: Influencing consumer buying behaviour

This reportcommissioned by Making Local Food Work, discusses how to close the gap between how much people say they want to buy local food and how little they actually buy. It suggests closing this gap by selling more local food through community enterprises, which are best-placed to generate the public dividends that local food can offer. This report explores whether advice on ‘behavioral change’ can help community food enterprises break from the margins of the food market into the mainstream.

The experiences of other community food enterprises and producers can also help guide local food promotion. The following enterprises have used different methods to influence consumer behaviour to support local food.

Edithvale Community Grocer – this veggie box program has developed a strong community of local eaters and farmers. Jono and Jessie have built up a pool of 50 local farmers, whose produce they use for weekly seasonal boxes for their customers. By building honest, transparent and trusting relationships, Jono and Jessie have found they have been able to open up more dialogue around fair food and help their members to more easily support their local farmers.  For more information on how Jono and Jessie have developed this community, see this article. 

Wandiful Produce – the small-scale biodynamic farm (selling walnuts, chestnuts, pastured eggs and seasonal produce) has found education to be a key tool to influence consumer behaviour and support local produce. Despite their region being Australia’s biggest chestnut-producing region, Megan says that there are still very few restaurants featuring chestnuts on their menu or customers regularly incorporating them into their diet. In order to promote chestnuts and the value of their local region, Megan is trying to educate restaurants and customers on how to cook with chestnuts. For more information, see this article. 

Prom Coast Food Collective – by allowing customers in the Gippsland region to easily access local, ethically produced food from the region the Prom Coast Food Collective is helping influence consumer behaviour. Co-founders Amelia and Sally have set up their Collective to ensure that supporting local food is as convenient as possible for their customers. Customers shop online on the Open Food Network store and place a single order and payment for produce for the Collective’s 24 producers. They are then able to pick up their produce on the third Sunday of the month. For more information, visit their website or facebook page. 

Have questions, or want to connect with others with similar experiences? Head over to the fair food forum. 

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