#ShopLocal30 sums up everything Hopes of Longtown stands for. And it represents our mission to put local produce at the heart of everyone’s shopping baskets, no matter where they are.
Cast your mind back to 2001. If you live in the countryside, the chances are you’ll remember it for one thing only: foot and mouth disease. It was a frightening, isolating and stressful time.
Here in Longtown it also showed us how much we missed our local shop that had closed down a few months earlier. We had nowhere to get news, give each other support or generally come together as a community.
Christine was travelling in Australia when foot and mouth hit and she returned home at the height of the crisis. When thinking about her next steps she discovered something surprising. The costs to get a graduate job would be roughly the same as to set up a shop in Longtown.
The decision was easy. It was a decision backed by Christine’s parents. It was also a decision supported by the local community.
Hopes of Longtown was born.
But a local shop isn’t just a way to bring a local community together. It’s also a way to create a thriving local economy.
Research backs this up.
For example, it’s been shown that pound for pound spending in smaller independent ‘local food’ outlets supports three times the number of jobs than at outlets of national grocery chains.
It’s why, from the very first days, Hopes of Longtown has stocked local produce. And of course, when you’re in the heart of Herefordshire and its wonderfully fertile soils, this is a joyful experience.
You can see our commitment to local produce from the moment you step inside our door.
The first thing you’ll spot is the map covered with numbers showing all the producers we stock who are within 30 miles of our front door.
Then, as you browse our shelves, you’ll see that the local products are all highlighted with #ShopLocal30 stickers.
As the stickers suggest, we define local produce as being within 30 miles of our front door. We choose this distance because this is how the wonderful Plunkett Foundation (who incidentally gave us masses of support when we first started) defines local.
It means that when we say local, we really mean local. Our local produce is from the producer just down the road, not from a producer in the same region as us (although we stock lots of regional produce too).
But there’s another reason why we stock local produce.
It’s because it makes local produce accessible to people on all budgets. We believe local food should be available in all local shops, not just the fancy deli in town. It’s important because it makes buying local produce a normal, everyday thing that everyone does.
This is why we want #ShopLocal30 to go large.
So tell the world when you buy local honey. Tell the world when you buy local eggs that are cheaper than your local supermarket as well as much yummier. Tell the world when you ask your local shop to start stocking local milk and they do. Tell the world all your local produce stories!
Because together we have the power to celebrate local produce and put it at the heart of our shopping baskets.
Christine and the Hopes of Longtown team
PS: if you’re a retailer interested in knowing how to make local produce work for you, we’d love you to pick our brains. We’ve been putting local produce at the heart of our local shop for 15 years now, so we like to think we know what we’re talking about. If you’d like to have a chat for an hour either at the shop or on the phone or Skype, drop us a line – we’d love to hear from you.
 From field to fork: The value of England’s local food webs. Campaign to Protect Rural England, June 2012. http://www.cpre.org.uk/resources/farming-and-food/local-foods/item/2897-from-field-to-fork